I’ve blogged several times here about the bond that forms between men who fight side by side on the battlefield against a common foe. I’ve said that it is the strongest bond I’ve ever experienced. I want to revisit that topic, which remains sacred to me.
Disclaimer: I’m not a psychiatrist or sociologist, so I can’t talk in scientific terms about the bond. I can only tell you how it affected me.
I have to start by stressing why men fight in combat. They may have been put in harm’s way because of their desire to defend their country or their devotion to God or their determination to fight evil. But on the battlefield, men fight for each other. That is, they fight for the lives of their brothers fighting at their side. They see their mission as keeping their fellow combatants alive even if it means giving up their own lives.
The feelings among men fighting by each other’s side is the strongest love I’ve ever experienced. Soldiers and Marines don’t call it love—that’s too sentimental. But that’s what it is.
I’m sure I didn’t experience that bond to the depths that other men in combat did. I wasn’t there to shoot and kill the enemy. I was there to provide information about the enemy—where he was, the size and identity of his units, what he was doing, what his intensions were—through the intercept and exploitation of his radio communications. The men by my side were the fighters, intent on destroying the enemy and defending each other.