Category Archives: Marine Corps

“American Sniper,” the Movie

WARNING: SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS

Do not continue reading if you haven’t seen the movie…

Now, with those warnings out of the way, let’s begin. I’m really wanting to discuss this movie with some of you all, so let’s open the bar and have a good conversation…

I’m dying to know your all’s thoughts about the movie…

I finally saw it tonight and I’m really torn about how I feel about it.

On the one hand, it’s a good movie. Maybe even a great one, if you haven’t read the book first. (In fact, almost all of my problems result from me having read the book first, I think.)

But I left the movie pretty torn about it. And one of the things I was most frustrated about was how complete it was. What I mean is that the movie, while mostly based on truth, turns Chris Kyle’s four tours into more a test of endurance in search of this phantom, super-talented enemy sniper. On the one hand, using this device gives the movie some suspense and a thrill to it. You pull for Chris Kyle. You understand why he has to go back.

On the other, it’s not true, and war is never about such a test. (Or rarely, at best.) War at the individual ground level is about disappointment, boredom, sacrifice, pain, sweat, hurry-up-and-wait, and life-altering meaningless broken up by soul-exploding violence, which marks and scars you forever.

“American Sniper,” the movie, gets much of this right, but it sells Chris Kyle’s life short. The greater story is that, in reality, Chris Kyle went back for four tours without any of this fake meaning or suspense. It was nothing on Kyle’s part but pure sacrifice and service, over-and-over and over-and-over. Four times.

Granted, such a movie wouldn’t set box-office records, so perhaps I should just shut up. After all, the current version with its suspenseful angle is certainly telling his story in probably the largest (and broadest) way possible.

But in my mind, Chris Kyle’s story is far greater because I’m confident he learned the truth about war and its soul-ripping meaninglessness on his first tour, and he STILL went back three more times. Not to hunt some phantom sniper mentioned in only a single paragraph of the book, who Kyle never even shot, but to answer that bitch named “Duty.”

Chris Kyle knew the price of real war, and he paid it. In spades. He nearly sacrificed his marriage. He missed much of his kids’ early days. And he endured “three gunshot wounds, two helicopter crashes, six IED attacks, and numerous surgeries.”

He didn’t do that to kill some phantom sniper that was killing dozens of Marines and soldiers. He didn’t do that to set some sniper record for most kills.

He did it because he was one in ten million. Maybe one in one hundred million. And that’s the bigger story in my opinion.

Even more crazy is that the most lethal sniper in American history almost certainly would have served more tours if hadn’t departed the SEALs to save his marriage…

Chris Kyle was special, and his real life was much greater than even the incredible image portrayed in the movie.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What are your thoughts? Am I off-base and being too critical? What did you think of the movie?

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.

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Filed under Marine Corps, Movie thoughts

An administrative note on my blogs

Okay, guys. As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been struggling of late with my focus for this author blog of mine. My numerous competing passions have been pulling at me, and it’s probably shown.

Sometimes, my posts have been inspirational. Sometimes, they’ve been military/foriegn policy in nature. Sometimes, they’ve had something to do with Eastern Philosophy or living in the moment.

SO, to cut down on this lack of focus, I’ve made a decision to restart an old blog and start a new one.

Now, there will be three options for you to choose from.

1) On this current site (stanrmitchell.com) that you are already subscribed to, I will continue to post about things that motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh. My efforts are paying off, and I intend to inspire, drag, or shame as many of you as possible into your own dreams. So, if you need the motivation or inspiration, or just want to keep up with me as I continue to pursue my author career with everything that I have, there’s no need to do anything. Please, stick around. I love having each and every one of you.

2). If you care about military matters, I am relaunching Marine Watch, a blog on American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps. If this is something you’re interested in, please go there and subscribe.

3) Finally, I’m launching a new blog on one of my other lifelong passions: martial arts and Eastern Philosophy. My search for the way will be about martial arts, physical fitness, and ESPECIALLY everything that goes with Eastern philosophy — mindfulness, living in the moment, and eastern philosophy. You can read about why I’m launching the site here, so if you’re interested, please subscribe for email alerts and join me there.

I hope having more specific blogs will lead to greater focus and community for each of the sites. Thanks for everyone’s patience, support, and friendship. I hope to catch you all at one of the sites — or even multiple ones.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m an action fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.

15 Comments

Filed under Eastern philosophy, Faith in the world, Fighting and training, Marine Corps, National security, Stories about my life

Some inspiration and hope for the week

Hope these inspire (or inform) you!

(Inspiring quotes up top; military updates/news at the bottom.)

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2 Comments

Filed under Best tweets of the week, Faith in the world, Marine Corps

Improving the U.S. military. Some thoughts from two vets…

Being a prior enlisted member of the military, it’s quite common to spout off your views on all things military. From playing Monday morning quarterback regarding current combat operations, to discussing how the Army or Marine Corps could do things better, nearly every enlisted member that I’ve ever met complains and gripes, while also suggesting how things could be better.

I’ve learned this doesn’t end when you get out, and I’ve of late been increasingly talking all things military with a guy I’ll just call “Lee.”

Lee served four and a half years in the Army, with most of his time in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Lee served two combat tours during that time and he knows about ten times more about weapons than I do, and well, that’s saying something.

Several times in the past six months, we’ve talked about things we’d change if we were in charge and we finally decided it’d be fun to throw these things out there for discussion purposes, and even better, to hear all the other ideas floating around out there.

Here were some ideas we had…

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Filed under Fighting and training, Marine Corps, National security

Sgt. Major speaks out: ‘My career was defaced.’

Super glad to see the Sgt Major landed on his feet. And hearing his story (of how he had just returned from the funeral of his father, and how he handled how all this going down) only makes me respect this man about a hundred times more.

Here’s the story: Sgt. Major speaks out: ‘My career was defaced.

And here are my two earlier posts about the incident:

Back when this first happened and both sides were seriously pissed and entrenched — some supported the former DI and his right to protest, and even supporters of the Sgt Major were mostly furious about Obama’s trade for Bergdahl — I wrote this:

I might be wrong — I frequently am — but I’ll bet you in ten or fifteen years, that former DI feels bad about this entire episode. I understand why he was protesting the trade made by Obama, and I’ll bet he’s still super angry at the Sgt Major, but with about ten years and some distance from the event, I’m betting he’ll wish things had gone down differently.

Even with the distance of nearly four months, I still feel the same about this incident. And given that we now know the Sgt Major had just returned from dealing with the death of his father, which his command should have known, I find it absolutely absurd that he was basically forced out after this incident.

The man was a three-time combat vet with a Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device, which they rarely award to enlisted troops…

Sgt Major, I would have been proud to serve under you, and I wish you well in your new job.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m an action fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing to my blog — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.

2 Comments

Filed under Marine Corps