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.

A dubious badge of honor, less for skill than experience. Hard won, but never desired. Awarded with the greatest of merit and impossible to refuse.

It is very hard to explain combat and its effect on people that have not been there. It requires no explanation for those that have.

No bugs. Thick book on a boring day. The first round of supporting artillery. The lazy red circle of Spooky working your front. Getting to the top.

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.