Keith Nightingale

COL Nightingale is a retired Army Colonel who served two tours in Vietnam with Airborne and Ranger (American and Vietnamese) units. He commanded airborne battalions in both the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 82nd Airborne Division. He later commanded both the 1/75th Rangers and the 1st Ranger Training Brigade.

Burning buildings. Criminals and gunfire. Common definitions. Climbing upstairs at WTC when all others are going down. A common image.

An overwhelming cloak of nature. Inescapable. All pervasive. Seemingly solid but untouchable. Not the warm temperament of home. Enervating. Suppurating. No escape.

The sudden rush of dark-like thunder.  Surprise of silence.  Instant cathedral for the mind. Breathing echoes.  Fear wells.  Faith in numbers.

Our greatest gifts are the faceless, nameless Grunts that have made and kept our history and propelled us to our present situation of unparalleled prosperity and security.

During Christmas, it’s quite common to receive a gift in a box. An Infantryman’s life is defined by boxes. They carry, they feed, they arm, they sustain and they contain.

Grunts live close to the earth. They become part of it. They see, feel and sense as others do not.