This morning, though, I am reflecting on the last five years. Task Force Dagger Foundation received our 501(c)(3) status on 22 November 2009. The date of 22 November brings lots of memories to our country, especially those of us who live in the Dallas area: it was the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Kennedy was a huge believer in Special Forces. It was under his presidency that SF really grew and expanded. As such, each year, the Special Forces Regiment pays homage to President Kennedy by laying a wreath. Here is the video from this years wreath laying - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6JH7pQGhvE
What does Kennedy's assassination have to do with TFD? Nothing, in fact, other than it demonstrates how we associate dates and events and make connections - a connection that I didn't make until earlier this week and it just hit me and stuck with me and I thought it was kind of neat. What it did was to make me think of the brave men who were in Special Forces then and what they did, who they were, and what they forged in creating the Special Forces Regiment and where the Regiment is today. It made me realize something that I knew, but really hit me hard this time. Two things have made me who I am today: My relationship with God and my time in the Regiment. I have spent time with men who are truly special and have placed duty, honor, and country above themselves and am I am humbled to call them friends, team mates, and brothers in arms. Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives... However, one constant in life is change and no matter who you are, your time to leave comes and it is hard. On the surface, we are excited and look to the future, but deep in our hearts, it hurts in ways that words can not describe. We are leaving what we know and what we were good at doing, but we also know that we must change and we must transition to the next phase of our lives...
I have spoken to many friends who have completed their time in the service or who have retired, either medically or after serving 20+ years, and it is hard to leave. It is a loss of who you have been for many years. It is the careful folding away of not only your uniform, but a part of who you are. That is one reason that five years ago, we started the Task Force Dagger Foundation. We were not finished. We wanted to still serve. We saw that needs were not being fully met and that our Soldiers and Families had gaps, so we started the Foundation.
I know of one brother specifically who is going through a hard time with retirement and the loss of identity that comes with that change. If there is one, then there are many. My only advice is to find something that stirs your heart and makes you want to get up in the morning. Go after it with all your heart and soul. If you find that then you will truly never work a day in your life... Remember, there is always a team slot open at TFD.
Over the last five years, we have learned many things - almost all of them the hard way. But one thing that we have done is truly cared for our team. Our team consists of all members from the US Army Special Operations Command: SF, Rangers, CA, MISO, the 160th, and the 528th. We are here to support their needs. You see, it is not just one unit that is out there, but a team of units: a Task Force. That is why we took the name we did.
So what am I thankful for today? I am thankful for my wife who has stood by my side through the good times and the hard times. I am thankful for my kids who endured separation and many a long distance phone call during key moments in their lives.
I am thankful for the many volunteers that make up TFD - former team mates, brothers, and new friends made after retirement. Without you, we would not be here. I am thankful for the donors that contribute because even with as much heart as we have, it is the financial support that makes what we do possible.
We are in the process of closing out the year, doing taxes, audits, and also submitting our Combined Federal Campaign documents for next year. We have also just come online with our new database. You know you are truly a geek when you get misty-eyed over a database. With that said and I am sure I will hear about it, we will be publishing our end of year report soon. We have been growing and serving more than I ever dreamed and we are continuing to grow and meet the needs as they expand and change. It has been a long war, but one thing is certain, there will be new challenges ahead for our Special Operations Forces and TFD will be there to assist when needed.
Til next time...