Sarah moved closer to him. For a brief moment, both watched tears flow down the other’s cheek. Sarah suddenly moved her hand towards Ron’s cheek, and then hesitated. He reached out, grabbed her hand softly, and finished guiding it to his face. With her fingertip, she pressed against a moving teardrop on Ron’s cheek. He studied her closely as she brought forward her other hand to clasp his and then guide his finger towards her face. Ron pressed his finger against the tear on her soft skin.
“Now we have shared our tears,” Sarah remarked in a whisper. Then without warning, she eagerly wrapped her arms around Ron’s back below his arms, resting her head on his chest, squeezing him tightly. Ron instinctively responded by placing his arms around her waist and held her firmly. Peering over her shoulder, he viewed the majestic peaks rising above the Amu Darya valley. Their faces no longer reflected signs of weariness, only gentle pleasure and bittersweet memories of days gone by.
A loud explosion echoing below interrupted their embrace as both tumbled from the impact.
Only a month prior to these horrifying events, our family made the drive to New York to see our son’s smooth transition into the United States Military Academy at West Point. Both towers stood tall and elegant within the throngs of the Manhattan skyline.
Two months later, my wife, daughter, and I traveled again to New York to visit our son. It was parent week. Besides the significant events for our family, this trip included the notable absence of the twin towers.
One year later, I was promoted to Major and seven months after my promotion, I was on my way to Iraq for the first of what ending up being three tours. All three deployments were met with insightful observations that I began to write about after I left the third and final time.
These observations, along with those from my full twenty-five year career can be found in my autobiography, “All I Could Be,” so named because of the slogan on the television commercials at the time of my enlistment, shortly after Americans were taken hostage by the Iranian government and the Soviet Union sent forces to invade Afghanistan.
Finding a therapeutic “thrill” in writing, I came up with the pen name, AL M. Scott, and went on to write a paranormal novel, “Eternal Eye,” about a soldier going back in time to attempt preventing the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11 events, and other. I started using the uppercase “L” because many people were calling me “AI” as in Artificial Intelligence.
When completed, I felt the urge to write a romance, but integrated it with a military thriller, using the historic events of the Special Forces teaming with the Northern Alliance to fight the Al-Qaeda and their Taliban forces. I named the book, “Love in the House of War,” which began the series, “Military Men & Women-Heart, Soul, and Fire.”
The story line took on characteristics of its own when a Green Beret medic, Ron Hawkins, rescues an Afghan girl, Shararah, from a Taliban execution and while escaping and surviving through the Hindu Kush Mountains, find themselves falling in an improbable but unmistakable love for each other.
The ending left room for a sequel, and part two of the series, set twelve years later, continues with Ron and Shararah’s marriage and military family in “Flame in Paradise.” Living outside of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Shararah is living her dream as the two raise three kids, and they all excitedly anticipate Ron’s retirement from the Army. Suddenly, by request, he is sent on one more mission…to Iraq, where he comes face-to-face with ISIS forces.
Book three, “Girl with the Green Beret,” is about Ron and Shararah’s daughter, Asha, the first female to earn the Green Beret. Set in 2025 AD, Asha comes of age and is sought by both enemy and friendly forces, because of her many special abilities, especially her power to accurately predict future events.
While on a flight from Orlando to Seattle on the 10th of September, 2001, I just finished convincing the young college age girl sitting next to me that there was no reason to fear flying in a commercial aircraft. This conversation was a result of her expressed misgivings about going back home when it took a lot of courage just to get on this particular flight.
Later, as we approached Seattle, Mount Rainier peaked to our left side and was very clear. I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures of the majestic snow-capped mountain with a camera that automatically added the date. Rising above sea level at 14,409 feet, it is the highest mountain in the state of Washington.
I was on my way to Fort Lewis with a briefing scheduled for September 11, 2001, to members of the 7th Infantry Division, one of the units designated to field the new Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. After landing in Seattle, I made the drive to a nice hotel just outside the main gate entering Fort Lewis. I settled in and had time to run a couple of miles around the area before turning in for the night.
As I prepared for the next day in the early morning hours of 5:45 AM, I turned on the news and was surprised to see a breaking story about a plane flying into one of the Twin Towers in New York City. I continued to prepare for the day, arranging my notes, drinking some coffee, and following the story on television. I was a Captain in the Army at the time, a Project Director for the Simulation Command and wanted to make a good impression on some high-ranking officers that would no doubt be present for this briefing about the new transformation between the instrumentation connectivity from their Stryker vehicles to the Joint Readiness Training Command facility at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
My thoughts were suddenly distracted by the rising voices of the news commentators as they just reported a second passenger airliner flying into the other tower. I knew then that my new objective for the day would change from training to a real life mission. Glued to the set as I continued to finalize my drive onto the post, news came from Washington DC about a third aircraft flying into the Pentagon. As suspected, all pre-planned activities for the day at the Army base were canceled.
My next agenda was to find a way back home to Orlando, which in time and effort, I did. I also was able to see an old Army buddy that I hadn’t seen since 1982. When I finally arrived home in Orlando, nearly a week later, I had my photos developed and immediately noted that the date on the camera was set 24 hours ahead of time for all of my pictures. When I admired my shots of Mt. Rainier, I couldn’t help but notice the orange glow at the bottom of the photo, which read 9/11.
Late April, 2004 2230 hrs.
All of the contingency contracting officers and enlisted soldiers were working late in our new concrete building. We each had a stack of contracts to administer, nothing unusual during war. The stack was always there, and would always be there, even after we leave and our replacements take over, just as it was when I arrived six months earlier. Several of the personnel were about to go back home and they wanted to close out loose ends.
Engulfed with our work, there was mostly silence, no vendors or customers milling about amidst the chatter as it was throughout the day. Suddenly, a tremendous bang popped above us, crashing onto the roof, causing debris to rain down upon us as we jumped, wide-eyed and reactively alert. Then, nothing. More silence. After a few murmurs, “What was that?” a few of us got up to investigate. The building was intact, no damage.
One of the Captains drove to the MP station where there were members from the Ordinance section. Their explanation was a simple, “Happens once in a while. A rocket landed on your roof but rather than exploding, it bounced. Probably laying in a field somewhere. We’ll come take a look but probably won’t find it tonight.”
Looking back on this incident, I was reminded of the words from 2 Corinthians, “…he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. (I) have placed (my) confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. You are helping us by praying for us. Many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety (1:10, 11-NLT).”
That moment was during my first Iraqi Freedom tour and second tour of duty to the Middle East, the first being in 1991 during Desert Storm. I would go back a year later and after retiring from the Army, return yet again as a contractor. In every instance, the words from 2 Corinthians rang true.
My primary attribute for enabling a PTSIO characteristic in place of a PTSD is the spiritual aspect. Created in early childhood by parents, teachers, relatives, neighbors, and friends, my spirituality developed over the years with all the new experiences, dynamics, and conclusive (or not), ideologies. As the decade of the sixties moved into the seventies, continuing seamlessly through the eighties, so did my physiological and intellectual state change from childhood into the teens, and moving along through early adulthood.
One fact stands out in my development and that is the diversity experience. Once my dad decided to leave the Baltimore County police force in 1966, our family of four moved to Chicago, Illinois for three years followed by the Smokey Mountains of East Tennessee for the following two years. But it did not stop there. The road continued across America to Oklahoma, North Carolina, California, and Virginia.
This journey continued across the borders to Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador, much of the time in the deep Amazon jungle, which is where I met my wife eventually, in 1981. Before I met my wife however, I joined the US Army, and she became a fantastic Army wife through the years. My diverse road took me across a new trek within the military that included Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, all during my seven year enlisted days. I also spent three years in Berlin, Germany when the wall still stood and we were in the tail end of the Cold War.
When seven years were completed, I opted to leave and attend college, joining the ROTC in the process. Three years after leaving the first time, I was back in as a commissioned officer. The new trek took our family of four to Fort Huachuca, AZ., back to Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Polk, LA., Fort Bliss, TX. and finally Orlando, Florida. In the process, I was deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield-Desert Storm and later, twice to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. I finally retired from the Army in 2005.
I can say in confidence, based on all of my world-wide, diverse experiences, that the one early childhood learning development that has held me strong and steady, along with my wife and whole family, has been the spiritual aspect for my primary characteristic. My experiences around the globe and the things I have learned serve as the basis for my writings.
PTSIO (Post Traumatic Stress In Order) is a future publishing company designed to provide a forum for veterans and their family members to write their stories. Writing has been recognized as a positive therapeutic measure for those designated with PTSD by the Department of Defense. PTSIO Publishing encourages writings of all types (autobiography, short story, poetry, novels) and all genres’ (romance, YA, children, suspense, paranormal, etc.). Deliberately, the "D" in PTSD is dropped because I do not like the word, "Disorder." As a professor of computers at the college level and an author of five books, “In Order” is a more appropriate term for all of us who may have been labeled as a veteran with a disorder.
AL M. SCOTT
AL M. Scott (1958-) is the son of a Baltimore police officer-turned-missionary jungle pilot. For twelve years he and his family traveled across the USA and South America while attending thirteen different schools. His first book, "Family is NOT Army Issued:
1980-2005 is an autobiography about his twenty-five year Army career (1980-2005) that included four deployments to the Middle East and a Bronze Star Award for actions in Iraq. Scott also wrote a paranormal novel, “Emerald Passage,” about a soldier going back in time to stop the Oklahoma City bombings and the events of 9/11. He has completed two novels in his “Military Men & Women” series, (1) “Love in the House of War,” and (2) “Flame in Paradise.” Scott is currently writing his third in the series, “Girl with the Green Beret.”
FAMILY IS NOT ARMY ISSUED: 1980-2005
AL M. Scott (Pen name) enlisted into the Army in 1980 at the age of 21. Turbulent times were similar then as they are now. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage by the government of Iran after taking over the embassy and the Soviet Union had just invaded Afghanistan. Scott writes about his live experiences while serving in the Army, events that include meeting his wife in the Amazon jungles of Ecuador, beginning a family, a tour in Berlin, encounters with the KGB, becoming an officer, and deployments to Desert Storm and two tours to Iraq. After retirement, Scott returned to Iraq for one more year as a contractor.
MILITARY MEN & WOMEN
LOVE IN THE HOUSE OF WAR
A Romantic-Thriller when Green Beret medic, Ron Hawkins, rescues Shararah from a Taliban execution. Escaping and surviving through the Hindu Kush Mountains in war-torn Afghanistan, Ron and Shararah discover a love for each other, one that transcends all religious and cultural differences. But, with Al-Qaeda led Taliban forces on their trail, can both they and their love survive?
FLAME IN PARADISE
Twelve years after leaving Afghanistan, Shararah is living her dream in the American paradise. As an Army wife, she and Ron raise their three children while she simultaneously earns her Physician Assistant credentials. Anticipating Ron’s upcoming retirement, the family makes post-military plans…until Ron has been ordered from higher headquarters to complete one more mission, one that is Top Secret, where he will go to Iraq and come face-to-face with ISIS forces. Back at home, a young wife, and the three military kids wait anxiously for Ron’s return.
Book 3 Coming 2016
GIRL WITH THE GREEN BERET
The year is 2025 AD and the world is in a state of turmoil. Ron and Shararah’s daughter, twenty-three year-old Asha, is the first female to earn the coveted Green Beret. Possessing many skills in languages, sciences, and martial arts she also has the uncanny ability to predict future events. Seeing too much is a big problem for many of the world leaders who want her at any cost, sending their best field agents to track her down. Other world leaders will do anything to protect her. But Asha, aside from her family, does not know who to trust, especially since her own country is engulfed in a modern day civil war.
Blogs for this PTSIO website focus on the primary characteristics (Not in any specific order) of a human being: 1. Physical, 2. Spiritual, 3. Mental, 4. Social, and 5. Emotional. Blog posts about the physical will capture topics concerning health, fitness, diet, and sports. Spiritual will cover the soul, and how one relates to God and the supernatural. The mental category shares educational, business entrepreneurship and the social category emphasizes networking, events, social media. Finally, the emotional factor involves anything from reading to personal hobbies in such areas as travel, photography, or any other (list is endless) release that brings joy to the human soul. Any one of the five categories can be integrated with any of the other four. Not only is feedback welcome for this PTSIO website, but guest bloggers are encouraged to participate. There is no cost or obligation, just your thoughts and ideas to share for the military and military family community. Write, share pictures, have fun!
Ron, standing by the fire, glanced down at Shararah. Her eyes closed, she looked so peaceful, undisturbed by the ongoing situation or whatever life she lived in the past. Maybe she was dreaming of being whisked away by a prince and taken to paradise after all, he thought. Ron enjoyed sharing with her about growing up, religion, current events, and anything that came to mind. Shararah amazed him with her knowledge and grasp of a global perspective.
He watched her admiringly. There was something mysteriously thrilling and enchanting about Shararah. Her charm, intelligence, resourcefulness. Ron thoroughly enjoyed being with her, even under the circumstances entrenched with life and death surrounding them. One thing for certain, he had a very difficult time thinking about anyone, or for that matter, anything else in the whole world except for this girl he’d only met the day before. Here they were, both struggling for their very lives, together, in some cavernous hideout.
Shararah stirred a bit and then suddenly opened her eyes in fright, sitting up quickly. Her sudden movement startled Ron causing him to tumble backwards over a rock, planting hard on his rear, kicking up a small cloud of dirt. Shararah giggled as Ron gathered himself together while brushing off the seat of his pants.
"That's twice since you have met me. Maybe you are falling for me?”
“How did you know?” Ron said laughing.