“Jesus Gives His Toughest Soldiers the Worst Battles”
United States Army, 101st Airborne (ret.)
2014 “Drop Zone” Alumni
I was living life, it seemed, all by itself, or so I thought. I had always had some faith growing up. I bounced around a lot as a child, my mother raised me as best she could for being a drug addict. I remember countless Christmas’s where I’d stay with family friends because my mom was incarcerated. At 12 I bounced from juvenile detention centers and foster care. I learned to be independent and rely on only myself. I started to think God hated me or was punishing me.
I met my wife in high school and she got pregnant soon after. I worked various jobs supporting my family until one day in Sept 2009 I decided to join the U.S. ARMY. I started basic training on September 11, 2009 and graduated basic training and AIT on December 17th of that year. I reported to 101st Airborne 2/327 NO SLACK, Charlie Company, 1st Platoon on January 4, 2010. I showed up just in time to pack my bags into the conexes to be shipped to Afghanistan. I deployed in April 2010 to the Kunar Province, which is in the NE corner next to Pakistan.
On June 27, 2010 I was driving the lead truck in our convoy in Strong Eagle 1 when we were ambushed and my truck was disabled in the kill zone by 5 RPG’s, it seemed like everyone in that valley was shooting everything they had at just my truck. They were walking mortar rounds in and we were taking fire from all three sides. I never thought we would make it out of there. Then I saw CSM Chris Fields running up through this intense fire to make sure we were okay and reassure us he was gonna get us out of there which he kept his promise. I was medevaced to Forward Operating Base Joyce for a MTBI (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury). I wasn’t allowed to go outside the wire for a few weeks.
Then on February 4, 2011 I was gunning on a MRAP when we hit what was said to have been a 250-300 lb IED. I don’t remember much but was medevaced by a Black Hawk to Jalalabad and then on a cargo plane to Bagram where I finally regained consciousness. I was finally cleared to return back to my platoon sometime in mid-March of 2011. I wasn’t supposed to be going out on missions but my platoon and Battalion was so short-handed from the intense year of combat, and the fact that this was a battalion sized operation meant that every soldier available was going. It was an intense 9-day firefight, resulting in an awesome and powerful documentary called “The Hornet’s Nest”. In this battle my I prayed to God to save my friend from dying. When he didn’t survive I cursed God and lost all faith and hope for him and myself.
The Army was the family I never had. I had all the guys who I deployed with around me. I didn’t feel alone. When I was told I would be medically retired out due to my injuries, I was shocked. After a year and a half of going through the Medical Board I was Honorably Discharged from US Army on October 22, 2012. I then came home to Des Moines, IA.
It was tough going from intense combat and active duty to a civilian’s life. I started a downward spiral where I slowly started hating myself, my life, and the fact I wasn’t in the military. I felt like everyone treated me like a broken, used up soldier. I started using drugs, I had hit my rock bottom – feeling like such a failure and loser. I planned my suicide. Three times in fact I was going to do it. I never told anybody I was just going to do it. Each time I would get close and something would give me a change of heart. I couldn’t figure it out. I thought each time I’m such a piece of crap I can’t even kill myself.
“The Hornet’s Nest“ was getting released and Mrs. Fields messaged me and asked if I was going to see it I told her “no” that I wasn’t ready and didn’t think I could handle it. She replied you need to call CSM Fields and told me if I didn’t she would have him call me.
I agreed and called CSM Fields and he started talking to me, he asked questions and he listened. He told me about an organization that could help me called “Operation Restored Warrior”. He explained that it was a program/facility for men like myself – created and run by other special operators. That its mission is to “Rescue, Restore and Rebuild” warriors. He told me that this organization would restore my faith. I told CSM Fields that I didn’t think my faith could be restored. He assured me to come and not to worry about it.
I went to ORW in mid-2014. I flew into Denver airport where I linked up with 2 more guys and we drove a couple hours to the “4 Eagle Ranch”. At first I was really nervous. But after the first dinner I felt as if the group of guys there were all here to kick our demons out. I was able to tell my deepest secrets and all my insecurities to everyone and they never judged me. I was able to open my heart and pour out my soul to Jesus and my brothers.
I not only restored my relationship with Jesus but I realized that there is a purpose to my life. That JESUS gives his toughest soldiers the worst battles. ORW has saved my life and so many others. I am stronger and happier than ever before. I like to call ORW my rebirthing – Kevin Trainor (ORW alumni) said it but it fits.
AW1 Kevin J. Trainor (ret)
Combat search and rescue swimmer
May 28, 2010… This was my rock bottom date, I had reached the end of my proverbial rope. I was self-medicating (medicines that had been prescribed by a private physician). On top of this I was consuming at least a bottle of wine a night. I knew that my actions were taking me down a really bad road (that is an understatement).
In my drunken, medicated state, I said enough is enough. I took out a bottle of sedatives and emptied the bottle into my hand. I washed them down with the remnants of the wine. I vaguely remember writing an email to my ex-wife, proclaiming my intentions of stopping the madness, anger, night terrors, and frustration that seemed to be enveloping my entire life.
I retrieved my 9mm pistol from the gun safe, inserted a full magazine and let the slide slam home. I could not decide whether to shoot myself or wait for the medicines to subdue me into an unconscious state. I sat at my desk, looking at pictures of my two children.
I cannot remember how much time had elapsed, but the home telephone rang and woke me. I answered the phone, but I don’t know how many times it might have rang. On the other end was the calm voice of a Santa Rosa Police Crisis Negotiator. He introduced himself, and simply said, “Kevin, I’m here to help you and listen to you”. I remember being rather short with the officer initially, but his voice was earnest and empathetic.
I stood up and stumbled to my bedroom window. I peered outside and noticed approximately seven patrol cars outside my residence. I sat on my bed. I told the officer that I did not intend to hurt anyone, but I did have a firearm loaded. If there were an entry attempted, there would be one shot fired. The officer had quite an extensive history on me (did not know that my ex-wife was on the phone speaking to him at the same time).
The officer said, “I want to thank you for your service to our country”. I said, “Yea, look where that service has gotten me.” I hung up the phone, praying that the medicines would take over and stop my breathing.
I retreated to a closet where I felt I stood a better chance of sustaining less damage from a concussion grenade, or flash bang. I wanted to make sure that there would be just one shot (I decided center mass chest) if they forced an entry. There would be no suicide by cop (did not wish that burden on them).
The phone rang again, this time it was a friend, Officer Charley Taylor. Apparently he had heard the dispatch communication and responded to my residence. He greeted me the way we usually did, “What is up with you, you bald mother fucker?” he whipped. I said, “Not much. Is your uniform fitting you yet (he always had smaller arms than I did) ? He said, ” Nope, still look like noodles compared to yours.” I actually chuckled and so did he.
Charley went on to explain that I had a lot to offer, and this was a waste. I would be leaving behind two kids that loved me very much, and that was just wrong (he had met my kids). He pointedly said, “Look, Kevin, I know you won’t hurt anyone on entry. I know that is not your plan. I don’t know if we made entry that we could make it to you in time. That, my friend, scares me. I know you are serious. I know you’re hurting, and I know there is a way to help you.”
I made my demands. I would exit the house. I would leave my weapon on the desk as is. I would go in to custody if and only if you (Charley) be the arresting officer. If one cop pops out of a bush, one steps from the street side other than one other back up officer, I would retreat back into the house and fire one shot. Additionally, I and had major surgery on my right leg. If i were taken down, this could aggrevate the injury and the fight would be on.
Charley asked for a minute and I am sure confided and congealed the on scene incident commander to honor my requests. He came back on the line. “Kevin, all your requests are acceptable. I will bring one back up officer with me. I will make the arrest. Make sure that when you come down stairs that you have your shirt visible so they don’t get trigger happy”. I said, “All right.” I again empahasized the no bullshit rush. Charley said, “Kevin, you have my word as a friend they are pulling back now”. I said, “Ok I’m coming out. Don’t fuck this up, Charley.” I hung up the phone prior to hearing his response.
I exited my apartment. I walked down the stairs and pulled my T-shirt to chest level. I saw Charley and another officer approaching. Charley’s hands were at his waist, palms open showing me he had no stun gun in either hand. The backup officer did however have his weapon drawn but at the low ready.
Charley walked up to me with tears in his eyes. I turned and faced a brick wall, and put my hands on it. Charley said, “I’m going to stay with you as long as possible”. He then placed me in handcuffs, I could still hear him crying. He apologize to me, turned me around and hugged me. That’s when I started crying.
I was loaded onto a gurney, each of my arms, and legs were restrained to the gurney via a velcro soft restraint. I was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Sutter Medical Center Santa Rosa Emergency Department. I had worked there as an Emergency Room Technician in the past.
I know that each of us has much to do. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the tasks we face. But if we keep our priorities in order, we can accomplish all that we should. We can endure to the end regardless of temptations, problems, and challenges.
Joseph B. Wirthlin
Chalenges- it is the means by what most of us profess or accomplishments. In my life I have faced many, and I am taking them on as any other person should … Head on.
I was invited too “Drop Zone”, October 2014 (operationrestoredwarrior.org). At this event I renewed my faith with the Holy Trinity. Drop Zone was too me a rebirth, a reflection of what I had done in my military career and life, good and bad. Drop Zone showed me that through all the challenges, Jesus Christ was with me.
When I was suffering, crying and questioning the events that I had participated in or witnessed, Jesus was there the entire time with his hand on my shoulder comforting me. I was just so angry that I chose not to feel, hear, or see that I was not alone.
What I also relearned was the fact that God gave man two things that answer so many questions in this life, Love and Free-Will (freedom of choices). In this kinetic environment a lot of people will say, “If there is a god, why would he allow X,Y,Z to happen”? The question is earnest, again it is Love and Free-will.
As humans we know right from wrong. We are tested on a daily basis to make the right choice, or unfortunately the wrong choice. The “gut Feeling“, you get prior to doing something wrong, that is the voice that so many of us choose Not to listen too. “I knew it was wrong, but I …”.
Think of the possibilities that are so rewarding, if we would “listen too our Gut”! The apologies that would not be needed; instead how glorious it would be to receive a Thank You. The need to ask for repentance would be shortened. The peoples lives that we would affect in a positive light, versus negative.
The right choice is actually the easiest choice too make, and it is self rewarding. It is as simple as listening to our gut. Remove the hurried response to someone cutting you off in traffic (referencing the one fingered salute). Replace it with a deep breath, instant gratification of a positive, versus a negative. Perhaps the individual who cut you off is on the way to the hospital to care for a loved one that is ill or suffered a traumatic event.
It is the path of the wrong choice(s) that so many of us make that lead us on a continued path of wrong choices rather than stopping, and listening too your Gut (that is the holy spirit talking to us).
That person that cut you off, you give them that one fingered salute, beat on your horn, and yell colorful expletives. All the while your child is in the back seat observing your behavior. What is the signal that you are sending to your child? I can guarantee it is not one of self restraint. A lost opportunity to show your child a really important life lesson.
I am far from being perfect, I am a flawed human. There are times when anger, hate, insecurity raises its head and I miss the opportunity to brush it aside. I don’t laugh when I succumb to it, I rise up, I acknowledge my fault. I ask for forgiveness from those that I have hurt. I pray for strength, that when the opportunity presents itself again I will be stronger to make the right choice. I get back up, every time I am knocked down.
There is one more area I need to cover before I close. This is the meat of the matter at hand. The Holy father, does not test us. The enemy tests us daily and when we fail, he is the voice of ridicule. “You see, your still the same. You have not changed”.
The response is easy, to the enemy. “No I am not the same person. I have changed. Step aside you have no control over me”. Get Up!
The Holy Father would no more test you, then you would test your own child. Do you set your child up for success or failure? If it is failure, then you need to exam what has worked in your life as a positive tool, I can assure you it is not that of temptation. Get Up, Get Up !
Don Quixote, I am not. I am not on an adventure of a half hazard venue. I am a warrior, I am changing my ways and walking side by side with Jesus Christ. I am not afraid to profess this. I do not fear the responses to it. If the responses are negative, I cast them aside. I Get Up!
Kevin J. Trainor
I retired from the military 2 years ago. As recent as mid-January, I awoke to a 3 page letter on the pillow beside me in bed. It was around 5am. I noticed that my fiancée’, whom I live with, was not there. I began to read the letter. It started with how much she loved me. I felt good, then it turned to how much she is scared of me. She went on to ask me to fix myself. She didn’t know how, but get help.
It seems that at around 4AM, I awoke and started walking around our home as if ‘on patrol’ (in her words). I had grabbed my pistol that I have in my home and had gone into our son’s room. I crawled under his bed, searching. I then walked the hallway and attempted to go outside. She tried to talk to me but I was doing this in my sleep. She went to stop me from opening the door and I then pinned her against the wall with my forearm. I then just walked back to the bedroom and laid down. The 5am awakening was probably my brain waking up finally. She went on to tell me that she loved me, would never give up on me, but that she only wanted me to get help.
A few months prior, I was offered a chance at attending what is called ‘Drop Zone’ put on by an organization called Operation Restored Warrior. The program is a religious based program designed to restore a man’s spiritual heart. The program was started with the main purpose of saving men’s lives. It is for combat Veteran’s with mainly PTSD issues.
I completed the 5 day program. All I can say is thank you. This program saved my life, as well as, the men who attended alongside me. They are forever my brothers in this walk on earth. I love them all. We are still very much in touch. I cannot describe the program in detail but I can say I have made my peace with the Lord. My fiancée’ says she doesn’t know the man I have become – in a very good way. The program changed me that much. I have remained a good man with a restored heart.