Friday, April 20, 2012

FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND



This is about Master Sergeant Bill Joyner, 1963-2012. Bill was my Team Sergeant '92-'95, a good friend, and the most effective mentor of my professional life.

I spoke with Bill just last week; he sounded fine, said he felt fine and couldn't even feel it (the cancer). Later in the week he felt bad, went in for some tests. I'm foggy on the details; Bill didn't make it past Sunday night. Monday morning, about five minutes out from going into a meeting, I got the call. I jumped right out of my chair and said, "OH MY GOD!"

Everything I have accomplished; in my career and in my life - I can point directly to Bill's tutelage. What a rare individual, to have had such an impact over such a short period of time. I met Bill right after I left Okinawa. I had four years in the Special Forces by that time, nine years total in the Army; I thought I was the cock o' the walk - looking back I was a bull in a china shop. Bill taught me what they'd tried to pound into me in the GoJuRyu Dogo in Oki; it takes ten years to make a true warrior; what is called a professional. Bill turned me around, and he didn't even raise his voice.

From Bill I learned how to assess a situation and make sound judgement. Technical and tactical proficiency, planning, decision making - things I had been exposed to, things I thought I already knew, Bill forged into us. In short; leadership. You're always going somewhere in the Army and after three years Bill went his way and I went mine. By that time I was a seasoned veteran.

Everything I have accomplished - in my military career, my career as a security professional, in my personal life, even - is directly due to Bill's guidance and influence. When I got the word, there was no question - I would travel down to Fort Bragg and be there for the funeral. It was the least I could do to say thank you to Bill.



I tooled around the old neighborhood. It's unbelievable it's been twenty years. What a sad, sad journey home.

Last night was the viewing. Going into the funeral home was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, but I'm glad I went. The place was packed; Bill was universally loved & admired. I met an old battalion commander, and an old CSM. It was good to be able to share with them how Bill contributed to my successful career. The funeral is this afternoon. I will have the honor to say a few words.



STORMBRINGER SENDS

5 comments:

  1. Stormbringer,

    It sucks when you hear about fellow warriors that have gone to Vahalla before you. You are glad that they are there with their kindred but will miss them here on Earth.

    Ich had eine kamaraden gehait...do gept keine bessern.

    German for "I had a comrade, there were non better."

    Respectfully

    "Mr G"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hail and Salute.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Heh, you just know he was chewing someone out within the first 5 minutes :)

    SteveA

    ReplyDelete