We Like To Skateboard, And Start Trouble

"To Hell And Back Again" By Tom Tansey

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My name is Thomas Hugh Tansey. I was born 12/24/1989. I don’t know how I would really label myself when it comes to social economic standards. I was born into a hard working upper middle class family in the northwest suburbs. I feel like its a strange combination of blue collar workers and multi million dollar mansions mixed in. My father was a big time operating engineer for one of the major road construction contractors. My mom stayed at home taking care of the kids.

I feel like my father took his job more serious instead of being a father figure and is now desperately working his way back as he comes into his older ages. I don’t hold judgement against people. You never know the internal struggles that some people have faced. With that being said, every time I meet someone it’s with a clean slate. I’m going to fast forward a little bit, It’s my world and my writing so I can do whatever I want. I guess you could say my late teen years were conflicted. I was trying to maintain a lifestyle of hanging out with my friends in a punk rock gang while achieving grades at one of the most prestigious school districts in the country. I also focused on sports and studying. I’m not really sure when I made a significant change and kind of wondered off the unbeaten path.

I can honestly say some of the things that are going to come up are not intended for criminal purposes or self pity. This is just how it went the fuck down. I’m also unaware of the statue of limitations on some stories so certain details may be withheld. I remember being about 16 and being friends with Ping Pong and Marcin. I went to a Street Brats show at the Fireside Bowl and it was something I couldn’t explain, now or ever. From that moment on I spent my weekends downtown drinking and snorting cocaine with numerous amounts of people. That went on for a while and everything was gravy. There were a lot of fights, a lot of drugs, a lot of girls, a lot drinking. When you're like, 17, that's a good time.

Once the end of high school came around I found myself at a crossroad. I did so well at school, yet I wanted to do something different. I applied to about 5 schools, all in Illinois and was accepted to all of them. Instead, I pulled a wild card and joined the marines. I joined the Marines while we were actively involved in 2 different wars. One in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. I joined the infantry even though I scored so high on the entry level test I could have any job I wanted. I felt like if I was going to experience something at that extent, I'd rather be kicking in doors and killing people instead of turning wrenches or whatever. During your training you’re always being evaluated. I graduated my class so high I was sent to Quantize, Va to be an infantry and combat marksmanship instructor. I did that for about 8 months and was immediately sent to the next infantry battalion going to Afghanistan. That happen to be 2nd battalion 7th Marines 1st Marine Division out of 29 Palms, CA. I would like to go into depth on my first deployment, but I’m not sure how much space I can take.

A couple quick stories come from the Philippines and Okinawa Japan with was basically all of us getting drunk and liking hookers. My 2nd deployment to Afghanistan is the reason I’m even writing this. We were deployed to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, which at the time was considered the most dangerous place in the world. We mitigated enemies that had beaten off the Russians and the British Allied Forces. I knew once we got there we were looking at a very kinetic area full of people that essentially want to kill us. The deployment started off with a bang (no pun intended). Constant small arms fire and IED action. Being part of the mobile platoon, I was tasked with many difficult operations. I was the navigator and machine gun section leader. I could go on for days on individual stories. I really wanted to do this VIA podcast, but wasn’t given the opportunity. (Editors note: You had me at hookers) I’m not sure how I can sandwich 7 months of being America’s shock troops in an article and I was I could articulate more.