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Monday, Jul. 29, 2002
We said a temporary goodbye to Chief Mo the other day.

He had come in to the Watering Hole with surprising news. He, the sailor with some 28 years in this mans Navy was being shipped out. To a location which he pointedly would not reveal. On a mission for which he would give only withering glares for any casual inquiry. It was not to be known, it is still not known. Which made it all the more obvious to the ancient salts who inhabit, on any given sunny day, the dark and cool bar rail with its dark bottled drinks. That he was going in. To the land where the devil dwells.

Mo hasn't been shipped out in a dozen years or more. He served in Vietnam, he is an ex-SEAL, although he, in his more lucid moments, is the first to allow that no SEAL is an ex-SEAL.

He is the most prodigious warrior I know. He is a short and stocky bald fellow, given to moments with the young and semi-confused bartenders, the giver of Mo-hugs, and the offerer of Mo-money to the bereaved or bereft. If there were ever a man to have in a dark alley with you, this little bear would be the one. Mo, of the cheerful and occasionally daffy expression, could snap a mans neck as easily as he snaps off the top on a cold beer. And without much further ado. And with less remorse.

We sent him on his way with a send off at the local steakery. The crowd numbered in the tens, which was a summarily poor way to send off the Command Master Chief on a mission with no regard, but I suppose that is the way these things usually happen. At the last moment, and with the attendees more confused than upset.

I watched him down three beers and a steak with his usual detached expression, there is no wife anymore for this man, and his daughter attended but was more involved with her latest beau than her father. I was trying to think of an adequate repartee but could only offer a raised bottle and a "Check six, Chief" for him. And he raised a matching bottle and gave me a bear hug, and maybe he knew. Maybe because we told him so, the older guys, in a quiet aside.

"If you get that killer between your sights Chief, you take him out. No second thoughts, no regards." It was babbling on the part of civilians, to the warrior that is Mo. And the only life he has ever known. He has seen the killer between his sights before, and has squeezed, and felt the moment as we never will. He has taken life, has known the agony and the victory, but never before one such as this. He regarded our trumped patriotism with the sort of dank look that he is famous for.

"Roger that", he croaked.

It may well have been through tears, I don't know. For his country, and the children therein.

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