Thank you for your service Colonel Grant
Below is a Tallahassee Democrat article. Bruce Grant a retired Army colonel and currently employed by the state of Florida, has decided to return to military service. Before working for the state of Florida, Bruce Grant had spent 26 years in the Army till his retirement in 2000. He'll be leaving for Fort Jackson this weekend.
All I want to say is thank you Colonel Grant and may God bless you.
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When Bruce Grant was asked why he's giving up about $40,000 in income, leaving his family for a year and volunteering for dangerous Army duty in Iraq, he looked like he was trying to find a polite way to answer a dumb question.
"Some things are worth fighting for. Some things are worth sacrifice," he said matter-of-factly in a brief interview Wednesday. "I have children and hope to have grandchildren. I hope that by us doing what we're doing now, they won't have to fight - that they can live in a safer world."
Grant, 53, spent nearly 27 years in the Army - graduating from West Point in 1974 and retiring as a colonel five years ago. The former paratrooper and ranger joined Gov. Jeb Bush's office of drug-control policy as chief of staff to Jim McDonough, himself a retired Army colonel.
On Sunday, he ships out to Fort Jackson, S.C., for two weeks of "re-greening" - getting his personnel file updated and taking care of a few administrative details. Then, it's on to Fort Campbell, Ky., to join the 101st Airmobile Division, en route to Iraq.
"He's got a big geographic responsibility over there," McDonough said. "He'll be a target for every insurgent. But when I asked him why he wanted to do it, he said he wants to help every American soldier over there get home safely."
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Afghanistan war that toppled the Taliban, Grant said, he hoped the Iraq invasion would be over quickly. He supports the administration's policies and decided he couldn't sit this one out.
But he almost had to fight his way back into uniform. Needing experienced personnel, the military has a retiree-return policy, but Grant said the Army wasn't exactly eager to put him in charge of rebuilding schools, police and fire services and other civic functions in the Mosul area.
"Contrary to what we read in the press - and I don't mind because everybody knows bad news makes headlines - there are a lot of good things going on over there," Grant said. "I do have confidence that it can succeed. It would be crazy of me to go over there, if I didn't."
Bush presented him a proclamation marking his service in the drug-control office, which includes anti-gang programs in Miami, coordinating port security and setting up anti-drug coalitions in all 67 counties. Part of the commendation read:
"Col. Bruce Grant has volunteered to return to active duty in the U.S. Army to serve his country in Iraq, without promise of material reward or promotion or follow-on assignment, at sacrifice of his current position in state government and the surrender of his current military retirement, and to face a year's separation from his family and loved ones in order to lead American soldiers and further his country's efforts to assist others."
Along with the proclamation, co-workers gave Grant a big jar of M&M candies, labeled as spider-repellent pills to ward off "BHAGS." Bush, who dislikes acronyms, coined that one for "Big, Hairy Audacious Goals" that he wants his staff to set for his policies.
But on Grant's going-away present, the label said it stood for "big, hairy, audacious, gargantuan spiders."
Grant, whose military career included a year in Bosnia, said he will lose about $40,000 by giving up his state salary and Army pension for a year. When he gets back, the Bush administration will be leaving office - or already gone - and Grant said the Army told him there is no prospect of making general or going anywhere except back into retirement.
"He's a spectacular public servant," Bush said, after presenting the proclamation to Grant, his wife, Pat, and their son, Stewart, 13, in the governor's office.
Pat Grant said she tried to talk her husband of 30 years out of rejoining.
"I was shocked," she said. But when asked if she'd expected to be unsuccessful in dissuading him, she smiled and said, "That didn't surprise me at all."
He seemed a little surprised by all the fuss.
"Once you're a soldier, it never gets out of your bloodstream," he said. "Above all, a soldier hates war; but if you've got one, some of us - who believe as soldiers believe - want to go and serve. That sounds kind of corny when I say it, but it's true."