A Letter from a Marine Comedian

 

My name is joe, and comedy helped save my life.

When I was deployed to Iraq I think I might have been the funniest dude in the whole Marine Corps. I used humor to endear myself to my Marines, and to hide the fact that I was scared out of my mind. 

In a place where death was always one mortar round, rocket or sniper’s bullet away, humor proved to be a pretty useful talent. We laughed our way through a lot of long days, and scary times.

I had no idea that coming home, the thing I literally counted days, and hours, to get to, would be what almost killed me in the end.

Ironically enough, it’s the “coming home” part that gets most servicemen and women.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but losing the camaraderie and shared experience I had in the Marines was like losing a family member. I came back from my final Iraq deployment in 2008 with a rapidly breaking body, and a mind that stayed in the Anbar province, even though my deployments were, by comparison to many of my brothers and sisters, incredibly fortunate.

I was finally home, but something was very different. I was very different. I was finally safe, but as I struggled to understand why I couldn’t sleep without my door barred shut, or stop sweating in a cool, dark movie theater, I discovered I was never in greater danger - or more lost.

I found the Armed Services Arts Partnership around the same time I realized how lost I really was.    

This community – one of intense belonging and encouragement  – helped me find myself again. My healthy, happy, self. Most of all, ASAP gave me hope that real happiness and fulfillment can be part of my civilian existence.

By supporting ASAP, you are helping veterans and their families. You are creating laughter amongst the lonely silence - for veterans, service members, military families and caregivers - who may be struggling the way I was (or may just want to foster their inner-artist!)

ASAP helps restore to veterans their sense of purpose, happiness and fulfillment - whether it was lost in Iraq or in a sleeve pocket once the uniform came off one last time.