My brother and I asked each other that question numerous times during the 29 years we had together. We wondered… if that moment would come where we had to act, would we have the courage and the strength to respond without thought of our own skin. Would we risk everything to try to help?
Shortly after September 11, 2001 we had this conversation.
“Do you think you would have the courage to risk your life to save a friend?” Matt asked me.
The fog was rolling in around us at our house in San Diego. The water in the air was thick enough to make the fire snap. Hot dusty coals dwindling, but alive with a subtle glow as the damp chill of the night settled in around us.
Matt was about to begin his third phase of BUDs training and was on a short weekend leave prior to heading to the island. We were sitting opposite each other at our fire pit with cold beers in hand as we began a conversation I will never forget. Matt sat across from me staring at the iron red coals with an uncertain look on his face. Our jovial night was about to take a more serious tone.
“Hey,” he began, pausing to get his thoughts right, “I never thought it would be a foregone conclusion that I would be seeing a fight when I entered the Teams. I thought that perhaps I would get the chance to answer that call, but I never knew for sure until today. I hope that I never get in a rough situation, but if I do, I hope I will have the courage to see it through.”
Matt was killed in action on the 28th of June 2005 fighting to keep his Teammates alive. Giving every ounce of his heart and soul to win the fight he was in.
I am proud of him for that. For never giving up, for having the courage to bring the fight to the enemy, but more importantly for proving what I knew he would do if ever in a situation like we discussed growing up. “Would you have the courage to fight to the last breath for the ones you love?”
We decided to launch a business that honored the sacrifices of Matt and all those like him. Many in our family history have served. Grandpa and his brother were career Navy and were on the USS Pennsylvania in Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, Grandma was a Marine for the duration of WWII, Dad and Uncle Dean were in the infantry and fought in the Vietnam War, so this sentiment runs deep with us.
In the toughest moments thoughts should not be on the gear you carry it should be on the safety and well being of those next to you. We hope that what we bring to the table will be an integral, albeit, small part of the brave forces that protect us everyday. We also hope that everybody that visits us will take some strength with them when they remember how hard our service men and women fight for us everyday.
I will find myself a man in full if during my life I can help support our best and bravest by giving them some of the tools they need to keep them safe. Enabling men and women like my Brother to “…risk their lives to save a friend.”, and God willing, they will make it home to their families safe.