Any of you who know (or are) active duty on/near JBLM, please read

June 20th, report to Bragg on the 10th of July. Chasing reds on the flats with my buddy in Wilmington by the 20th of July. I'm already planning leave for Sep 2015 for salmon. I'm not looking forward to leaving here, this place kicks ass. Fayetteville on the other hand sucks ass.
June 20th, report to Bragg on the 10th of July. Chasing reds on the flats with my buddy in Wilmington by the 20th of July. I'm already planning leave for Sep 2015 for salmon. I'm not looking forward to leaving here, this place kicks ass. Fayetteville on the other hand sucks ass.
Didn't realize you were leaving so soon. I'll drop by your shop tomorrow and bullsh*t a little. Get a little more info on the stuff at the WTB.

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Where to begin? I think it was just over two and a half years ago now that I was taken hostage by Chuck Tye in Cabelas. I was looking at all the fancy stuff in the fly fishing section, and just happen to have my back to a wall when he landed right in front of me. I must have seemed like an easy target. He introduced himself and gave me a quick rundown on “Project Healing Waters” (PHW) and its commitment to current and veteran service members. Chuck was talking but fly fishing wasn't something i was considering. Those goofy fishing hats hide my lustrous locks and wool makes me look heavy. Plus, one of my most memorable (traumatic) childhood experiences involved a dead trout, a pin bone, pliers, and lack of a sterile room for the operation. I had serious doubts when he said that trout fishing with beads and feathers could be rewarding. His explanation about PHW however, drew my interest and before I knew it I was sitting down at the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) learning to tie black woolly buggers that, according to Chuck, had “flair”. Having obvious talent garnered me a new friend. I met Jerry and somewhere along the way he told me about a fictitious fish that is sometimes referred to as a “Steelhead” (a fishy unicorn or a unicorn fish, i don't remember). I guess you could say that even though it was my first visit at the WTB I was hooked on fly fishing. Talking, learning basic fly patterns, and meeting the other Veterans in the group, I knew that I had found my place among “friends”. These friends understood me, they understood a struggle that most will never have to deal with, and they accepted me.
As a frequent participant I’ve had the opportunity to hear how a Soldier or Veteran, wounded or not, when he or she is on the river, they completely lose themselves to their surroundings. The troubles of combat and everyday ordeals just float away with the current. Nothing at that particular moment matters, except the cadence of the day: cast, swing, step, cast. We are in search of a small tug that could lead to a catch of a life time. The same is true for those who attend lake outings. All the problems that weighed heavily on them sink to the bottom of the lake. They are free from life’s hectic day to day issues. Even on no-fish days, spirits and moral are buoyed by camaraderie and effort. The grins and smiles only grow as the stories, true or false, are told around the camp fire over and over again. A nine inch trout will eventually stretch itself to just shy of the state record, the water is always deeper, the fight in the fish is always more exciting in the retelling. The contrarian in the group will always mention that the fish is never as big as the ones you could catch in Montana, or the Gulf, or Chernobyl. These moments are made even better when the camp cook, Jerry, announces that food is ready and its time to eat. I’ve enjoyed everything from rustic cowboy meals to Asian noodles during our trips. Jerry goes out of his way to make sure you enjoy yourself. For example, make a portion of food without onions just for me.
Along with these fishing outings I have also had the chance to attend a few of the Fly Tying Expos both in Oregon and in Washington. Chuck and Jerry have allowed me to tag along on these road trip adventures. I was amazed to find out how close everyone in fly fishing and tying community are. It’s been almost a year since I have attended an event (I’m currently over seas) and I still find myself passing emails, text messages, and phone calls with the people I’ve met on outings. Even now all of members help me by sharing their best tip and tricks as i try to make a humble imitation of what they do so well.
I would like to personally thank Chuck, Jerry, and all the other volunteers for all they have done and continue to do for Soldiers and the Veterans through the Project Healing Waters program.
Lastly, I would like everyone to know that I think of myself as a pretty rough and tough dude. I go to the gym on a daily basis, I bench close to 30,000 pounds, eat glass, and crap nails. Thanks to Chuck and to the friends I have made while participating in the PHW program I now wear a fishing hat and get all giddy when it comes to finding a sweet deal on shiny beads, and pretty feathers. I wouldn’t have it any other way!!! Thank you all for everything you have done for me personally. You will forever be in my heart and will always be considered more than just friends; you all are my second family. Wool, unfortunately, still makes me look heavy.

If you are a volunteer with the “Project Healing Waters” program and I did not mention you by name in the above paragraphs please know that you are not forgotten. You are also a vital part of the group and all of your participation is greatly appreciated. Thank you for all you do!!!
Nice words James, thanks for dragging me into the WTB a year ago. BTW my wife finally got me to admit that i have become obsessed with fly fishing and tying flies... i don't think the Army has a program for that do they?