Why am I doing this?

September 2, 2009

Its pretty simple really.

I have been considering writing an account about my 25 years in uniform for some time now but came to realise there is just too much out there and lost the urge. Then one morning in the shower I had one of my rare bright moments and decided perhaps a Blog is the way to go.

And so here we are.

There are so many books and memoirs out there by war heroes and unbelievably real-life Rambos that everything else that anyone else has done in the military seems irrelevant. Everything seems to be Special Forces this or Black Ops that.  Quite amusing at times although I am not saying that there is not a place for Special Forces in a military organisation…..what I am saying is that people now see it as a way to make money and it does get pretty monotonous.

I would like to show you by way of this Blog that there is indeed life, loyalty, extreme endurance, total professionalism, heroism, and people doing a damn fine job in the military besides Special Forces troops. I too served in the Special Forces for a time but it didn’t make me feel I was any better than any other soldier who put either his or her life on the line, or carried out the equally important administrative and logistic duties. We all bleed the same colour blood…it is red believe me..and we all feel the same piss filled fear when facing certain death close up and personal. Anyone with the naivety to disagree with me was either never in close combat with an enemy intent on killing them, or was clearly quite mad at the time.

I was not a hero although I proudly wear nine medals on the left hand side of my chest on veterans parades, including one from the Russian Federation, possibly the only one ever awarded to any former Rhodesian or South African soldier at the time.

This then is a cautious but nevertheless sincere attempt to share with all that care to join me here, the story as I recall it (without the benefit of a diary) of my early years, military career, and beyond.  There will be no accurate dates because I never wrote them down.   There will be little fame, quite a lot of pain, and yes indeed a good dose of shame. There will be sadness and happiness, humour, shock and awe, and sometimes disbelief at some of the things I write on these pages.

I will not however publish the full names of all the many characters that will surface during the lifetime of this Blog…but I will do of some….the unnamed dodgy ones who crossed my path will know who I am referring to, and the good ones will too! I also do not acknowledge the source of many of the photos and maps on the blog as some contributors choose to remain anonymous by choice. Additionally many photos are from 3rd parties and the origins are genuinely unknown. This has already raised the eyebrows of certain paragons of virtue who slammed me for being unprofessional.  I accept the criticism with grace and urge those offended by the use of one of their photos or maps to contact me through the comments section and I will rectify the situation.

So join me if you will as I take you from the booze blurred days of my youth, to the steaming hell of the malaria infested Zambezi Valley, from the glorious sight of the thundering Victoria Falls, to the stinking, carcass riddled minefields of Cordon Sanitaire, from the smoothly running rivers of Angola, and the unforgiving heat of the Kalahari…..to the killing fields of Kosovo and Bosnia, and the oil rich seas of Far Eastern Russia….ending in the sinister mystique of the volatile Middle East.

Finally if this is my story then it must also be my own confession……… and an account of a young mans loss of innocence to war.

Seems to have just had a pee.....fastening fly buttons

Nyahuku (Cordon Sanitaire)-Rhodesia 1970’s: a much thinner Fatfox9 standing left

Mark Craig

10 Responses to “Why am I doing this?”

  1. Gayle said

    Mark

    I think it is an excellent start, it will be of interest to former comrades, colleagues and students of Military History…it might even prove to be a catalyst in providing scope for people to contribute some of their memoirs in support of the various chains of events.

    Regards
    Gayle

  2. fatfox9 said

    Thanks Gayle….actually I am hoping you are right about it giving others the urge to share their own experiences

  3. Sue said

    Well done Markie, a great start…..love the photo of you, its one I havent seen before!!

    Sue
    (Sister of The Fatfox !! )

  4. Fox09

    I think you are very eloquent……….and you certainly have moved around RoW, EMEA and some exotic parts of the world, that we ordinary mortals have never visited….excellent for a Bulawayo boy…out of Portsmouth.

    Oh I do think you will have extraordinary tales to tell……..

    Take care
    Jayne

  5. kieron said

    Mark,
    That was a brilliant read, this brings back a lot of memmories of when I was a fitter and turner at Risco and served my national service at Wankie.
    I sympathise with you over the tanker incident as I also suffer from claustraphobia, can’t wait to read the next entry on your blog.
    regards
    Kieron

  6. Gillian said

    Hi Mark love your blog. I have only just found it, so I have many happy hours ahead of entertainment. My brother was on the boats too. Maybe you know each other. I will have to tell him about this site so he can trip down memory lane. Thanks for writing it.

    • fatfox9 said

      Hi Gillian, thanks for the kind comments and I hope you do indeed have many hours following the FatFox. I really do appreciate it and gives inspiration to keep going. There is a good chance I know your brother and hope he hooks up with us here. All the very best and have a great Festive Season.

  7. Ian T said

    Fox09, I just got through reading Chris Cox’s Fireforce, and the story of Rhodesia has captivated me. I found your blog through a cursory Google search, and I’m happy I have. I look forward to reading your account of life and service in the greatly missed nation. Thank you.

    • fatfox9 said

      Greetings Ian. Thank you for joining me on my journey and the kind comment. There is much more to come although time is always the enemy. I really must get down to the next episode. Have a great Christmas……FF9

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