To Gramps, the first veteran I knew, thanks for making service a family value.
To Grandpa J, who served in WWII, thanks for welcoming me into your family and giving me another veteran role model to look up to as a boy. I miss you.
To Mom, who is quiet about her Army service, but remains my favorite veteran of all.
To Uncle Louie, who served in Korea, thanks for continuing to get after me about getting to the VA.
To Uncle Robert, a Navy man, thanks for teasing me about joining the Marines and then checking in with me every time I came home.
To Uncle Terry, thanks for being my model of a veteran and older brother. Your example means more than you might realize.
To Uncle Bill, thanks for a career of service.
To Nate, thanks for continuing to honorably serve, and for checking in any time the Navy brought you near Camp Pendleton.
To my drill instructors, Scott McLaughlin, John Maciel, and Michael Brown, thanks for making me a Marine and leading me into a new world.
To Tulagi, Guadalcanal, and Tarawa survivor Harry Eichman, thanks for welcoming me into the Marine Corps brotherhood and making a firm friendship with someone sixty years younger. I miss you.
To the Master Gunnery Sergeant at the School of Infantry who changed my orders from infantry to communications, thanks for recognizing I had something else the Corps needed and sending me where I could do the most good. You might have saved my life.
To the Marines of my Data Company cohort, thanks for making our class the best MCCES had ever seen, and for bringing me back alive from my 21st birthday in Palm Springs.
To Stan, thanks for being there from the first shared chicken, bacon, and corn pizza in 29 Palms to the shared last day of our Marine Corps tours, for being there ever since, and for becoming family.
To Squibes, who managed the transition from roommate and colleague to boss with a grace I still lack, who kept me from getting losing my head with the brass, and preserved a friendship through it all.
To Sailor Mike, the best Corpsman in the 1st Marine Division, thanks for countless meals, beers, laughs, and illicit swigs of booze in the field. You're a healer of mind and body.
To First Sergeant Fontaine, who saw I had something to contribute when we came home from Iraq and taught me another side of the Corps, thanks for not letting a deployment attachment like me wither on the vine.
To all the Marines & sailors of Echo 2/11, thanks for welcoming an attachment like me into your ranks, for watching my back in Iraq, and for making a firing battery my favorite unit.
To Max Hopkins, the best CO I ever had, thanks for making Echo Battery a better place than it was when you arrived, for the freely given advice and support, and for making light of every mistake I made as your driver.
To Exit Smith, thanks for the supreme confidence you always showed in my abilities, and for making me an integral part of the battalion fires crew. You were the class of 2/11.
To the Marines of 2/11 Comm & FDC, thanks for the countless hours together in the field, doing what we did best.
To my 1/11 friends Jon, Mike P., and Fabian, for welcoming a 2/11 guy into the fold.
To my brothers in the Deadly Writers Patrol: Doug, Steve, Tom D., Tom H., Bruce, Dennis, and Brian, thanks for helping me come home and find my voice. (Thanks to Craig, who isn't a vet, for the invitation to join DWP and making vets so central to his world.)
To Gerald, Steve, and Yvette, thanks for bringing me into Vets for Vets and being comrades on campus.
To Ken and Laura, fellow Badgers first, and now fellow veterans, thanks for picking up where I left off.
To the many vets I've met in the civilian world, thanks for never failing to understand, and for, in your own way, embodying all of us in your corners of the world.
To all those who have served before and after me, thanks for answering the call, especially when it wasn't your choice.
To James Casper, who reminds me every day what the cost of war is, I'm sorry.