As a military cartoonist, I live in a world laced with steel, sweat, things that explode, and guns. Lots of guns.
Unfortunately, as a cartoonist, I usually just get to watch other people handle steel, perspire, blow things up and shoot guns. My job is to draw them doing those things, and give them big noses.
Until the other day, when we were visited by two former Marines who were part of the security detail at the Benghazi CIA annex on September 11, 2012. They were in town to showcase their new book (13 Hours – it’s a great read) and I got invited to shoot with them.
Let’s let that last sentence sink in.
I was going to shoot with two professional security guys – both former Marines – who have more testosterone in their little fingers than I do in my entire, love-handle enhanced body.
Here is a picture of Mark Geist (Oz), me and my buddy Marv at the range. I annotated the image so you would know which one was me.
Both of those guys were incredible shots, as was John (Tig) Tiegen, who was there at the range with us.
I was not.
There is an interesting introspection that occurs when you are standing between a couple of living legends at a shooting range. You wonder how, after almost three decades in uniform plus one more in a part of the country that thrives on outdoor recreation, you end up feeling NOT like John Wayne, but instead like the guy John Wayne rescues from the out-of-control stage coach.
You want to think of yourself as this guy:
But you feel like this guy:
But you know something? It was great. They were gracious, friendly and instructive. I enjoyed every minute of it and even got a chance to listen to their first hand account of what happened in Benghazi.
Afterwards as I drove away, I felt alive, like a real lumberjack kind of man. Caught up in the moment, I jacked up the stereo and rocked all the way home.
I think they were playing “Rockin’ Robin.”