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Sunday, January 14th, 2007

The Lost Boys

In my entire military career – three years in Active Reserve as an 11B, Combat Infantryman; four years on Active Duty, 12B, Combat Engineer; and two years in Individual Ready Reserve – nothing was every so right in the world as when I was stationed at Fort Devens, MA, assigned to 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, A Company, 39th Engineering Battalion (Combat). Other people came and went, also fondly remembered, but the core of our group was the squad leader, SSG John Dionne, myself as SPC, SPC Jonathan Crockett, and PFC Juan Estrada. The last three of us were roommates in the barracks, but we often hung out at the home of our squad leader. I was the Not-John.

Gods, the stories we have to tell about those times. We worked hard, played hard, excelled in our profession and got into plenty of trouble. We called ourselves “The Lost Boys”.

We were an eclectic group, with hometowns from Boston, MA, San Diego, CA (born Tijuana, Mexico), Fargo, ND, and West Chester, PA (born Ferntree Gully, Australia). Two of us earned our US citizenship while serving together. The bonds we formed shaped us and the rest of our lives.

Those bonds have proven themselves over time. Although this took place more than seventeen or so years ago, we’ve all still stayed in touch. But one of us, Crockett, whom by nature played the real wild card, and spiced up our adventures by his unpredictability, held out as the prodigal son – the hardest to keep in touch with, though no less loved.

Segue.

A couple of weeks ago I got a lot of hits on an old post that someone had shared with his/her community. I noted the activity, but nothing came of it except that one person seemed to keep coming back, browsing through the rest of my blog. This person was coming from an IP than could only be resolved by geolocation to somewhere in the US, but I traced the IP to an ISP that served Montana and the surrounding states.

Now I, like all diligent webmasters, have to deal with the frustrations of lurkers – those strangers that hang around, keep visiting, but never pipe up through a comment or email. I’ve learned, like so many others, to put aside the wondering – the lurker will either finally speak up, or just disappear. But this time I was in for a pleasant surprise. Checking my logs, I saw a visit that terminated in my Contact Me page, and forlornly trotted off to check my email in case the link had been used.

This time I is was in for a pleasant surprise. The link had been used – there was an email!

And what an email. It was from the long-unheard-from Crockett. Son of a bitch! You better answer my reply, and soon.

P.S. Anyone who stumbles across this post who was a member of 1st Squad or 2nd Platoon, hell, anyone from my past, I’d love to hear from you. I’ve had abortive attempts of contact through Classmates or Military.com (Montenguise, Shadowen), but I never get anything from my replies. Keep trying! I’d especially love to hear from the honorary Lost Boy, Johnny Saalfrank, but since he followed my lead, went to SFAS and didn’t break his foot, he’s probably either in Afghanistan, or making a fortune as a mercenary (oops, private contractor) in Iraq.

Posted by Greg in Family & Friends, Posts About Me

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