Staying in a foxhole doesn’t win wars.
In the past few years, I have found myself in situations that held the potential to be very beneficial to my life – financially, physically, and psychologically. Looking back, I see that more often than not, I took the safe route. And why shouldn’t I? I have worked hard to accomplish goals, I have helped a lot of people understand veteran issues, as well as issues in their own life, and I have reached a place in life where I can be comfortable.
Here’s the thing though…I’m not.
I am in a foxhole.
I am in a foxhole and that foxhole is comfortable. There is little chance of being hit by enemy fire.
In the battlefield of the civilian world, there is little chance of failure in it.
For many people this is a great place to be and something we all strive for, but for many other people, this is just a temporary position from which we can launch our next assault.
The danger of the foxhole is that it is exactly what I said it was, comfortable. We get to places in our lives in which most dangers are known and we have established ways to remain safe. Keep your head down, communicate, and stay alert. In combat, the foxhole saves lives – but it doesn’t win wars.
From my position I see two options: stay in the hole and continue my day-to-day grind, or stand and move forward. Recounting my successes, I see that a majority of them were pretty safe bets. There was risk, but it was manageable. I rarely saw failure as a highly possible outcome, so I went that direction. Low risk, moderately high reward, makes sense. It is comfortable.
Last year I spoke with my wife and took a big risk in organizing an awareness and fundraising campaign for a Marine Sniper that I served with, Sgt. Eddie Ryan. He was shot in the face twice by friendly fire and lived.
I, along with two friends, ran the 145 miles from my house to Eddie’s in Lake George, NY, dubbing it the Tougher Than A Tank Journey Run, raising over $14,000 along the way.
The risk was huge. I pushed a social media campaign, sold shirts, solicited numerous companies for donations, and spoke with reporters from large news outlets and papers to get our story out there. When it came down to do the work, we were either going to make it, or we weren’t. Running under the flag hung from two ladder trucks through a crowd of patriots to wrap my Marine brother in a hug was one of the most exhilarating feelings of my life. Seeing the news coverage of Eddie’s story, VA shortcomings, and reactions from politicians made that even more fulfilling; it all started when I got out of my position and ran through the fire to my next foxhole.
I encourage you to stick your head up with me and look for your next move, then, go for it.
Get out of the foxhole and into the fight.
Noah Cass is a Marine Corps Infantry veteran who served two combat tours in Iraq. He now uses his experiences in and out of the service to assist brothers and sisters transition to civilian life. Through film screenings and public speaking, he has worked with veteran and civilian groups around New England to tell the veteran story. He lives in northern Connecticut with his wife and kids.