Politics & Policy

From New York, With Love

A posthumous letter to Zarqawi.

Those same loyal readers (Hi Honey. What’s for dinner?) will also recall that after three years of service I fulfilled my term of enlistment and said goodbye to the New York Guard, and went home to help my wife (a loyal reader of my column) raise our four kids, including our newest baby, who we named “Oops,” First name “Oops,” middle name “Heyyy. How about that?”

That lasted about a month, then I reenlisted.

We do good work in the New York Guard. We’re sort of the reserves of the reserves–in the rear with the gear. We take over some state missions to free up National Guard soldiers so they can go overseas and do good things.

Like drop 500-pound bombs on Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

Okay, it might not have been New York National Guardsmen piloting the F-16s that delivered the good news, but God knows our pals in the NYARNG–like the fighting 69th and the 42nd ID headquarters company–have been doing their share–and then some–in the war On terror and Operation Iraqi Freedom for years now.

I’ve had the great honor of serving alongside some of these brave New Yorkers. As a state guardsman I’ve served on some joint National Guard–New York Guard missions here in New York and I’ve got a few friends over there–and a few who’ve been there, done that, and come back.

My friend George is a staff sergeant in the National Guard. I had the great pleasure of working with him for a while assisting with the NYARNG Corps of Cadets program. Kids from rough neighborhoods are given military leadership training and teamwork exercises at the local armory. I tagged along as SSG George led these kids on drills and field exercises, taught them the core Army values, and instilled pride and purpose in them. Their schoolmates might get mixed up in drugs, but not SSG George’s platoon.

A couple of years ago, SSG George got called up for duty in Iraq. An infantryman, they made him an MP and gave him duty guarding convoys. Dangerous stuff. A bright young National Guard private, PVT Ray, replaced him with the cadets. SSG George was missed, but PVT Ray did a great job keeping the kids focused and in training. I tagged along.

After a while, PVT Ray got sent off to Iraq too. Driving trucks–in convoys, guarded by other New Yorkers like SSG George. Dangerous stuff.

SSG George is home now–back on duty at the armory with the cadets. He’s got some hearing damage from an IED explosion, but he’s in good shape otherwise. I saw PVT Ray recently too. Home, looking good.

So, SSG George is home, PVT Ray is home and Zarqawi is dead. It’s a good day in New York.

— Comedian Dave Konig starred on Broadway in Grease! and won a New York Emmy as the co-host of Subway Q&A. Konig has written a novel, Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky. Konig is also an NRO contributor.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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