My Suzy Every day it seems I read some article either placing the Ar15 on a pedestal or tossing it away like an old pizza box. I've heard arguments ranging from reliability, to stopping power and beyond. In all the cases I've seen, these weapons are referred to as guns, rifles, platforms, systems, and even things like trash, garbage...etc. What I haven't heard much of is the personal side of these guns. Where are the articles about Betsy, Rose, Wilma, and Emma? Have we grown so detached, so mainstream that our once loved oily canons are just pieces of stamped metal? Well I have a different take on things and so my story of Suzy, the most magnificent lady I ever knew. We begin shortly after my arrival to Fort Bragg in the heat soaked Carolinas, where the grass is brown and the air is thick as concrete. It's only been a few short years but it still seems like a lifetime ago. I remember coming to my unit ( Charlie Company of the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion ) and swiftly realizing the difference between training and garrison life. My own room and shower, even a television! Lord knows I was such a cherry private and the senior men and women around me would laugh as I'd run around trying to please everyone, an impossible prospect! It wasn't until a few weeks in that I was finally issued a weapon. Her name was Buttstock 51, and she was a ratty old piece of salvaged memorabilia from the last six years of war. An M4A2 Carbine made by Colt with a Knights Armament rail system, a 16 inch barrel and an Aimpoint m68 CCO to top her off. She wasn't a pretty site but that was just fine by me, I'd never been one for looks. I was told to disassemble and clean my weapon, which I did, taking loving care to inspect, clean, and lubricate her various parts. It was around that time that I decided I ought to give her a name, something fitting of a 50's era prom queen. After some thought and deliberation, I decided on the name Suzy, seemed like a decent enough name. I suppose that's how our relationship together began. Me and Suzy sitting cozy on the hard concrete floor with rags and oil in every nook and cranny. Training wasn't my favorite thing to do, I'd never been one for running around yelling Bang! toward ghost opponents. However the one training I always truly enjoyed was range time. My chance to take Suzy from her metal rack prison and let loose a torrent of lead at unsuspecting green pop-ups. When I'd come to my unit it had been over six months since I qualified with an Army issued weapon. So when it came time to do it again, I was glad to have Suzy resting on the sandbag before me. I remember that I was nervous, out to prove my worth as a back woods Oregon boy against a bunch of kids from the big cities who'd joined for the college money. So I gave it everything I had each and every time Suzy was in my hands. My sergeants were surprised when I shot a 40 out of 40 my first time to the range but I wasn't. I knew from the moment that I tore my love apart and inspected her pieces that she'd outperform me and all I had to do was keep up. Summers are quite hot in North Carolina and it isn't so much the temperature as the skin boiling humidity. It can be even worse when you're following a trail of people into the back of C-17 jet bound for Afghanistan. I was ramped up to go, ready, but I hated telling the other love of my life good bye. Her name is Dani, and she will one day be my wife but on that hot southern day it was just me, my pack, and Suzy. Eighteen hours and a few days stay in Kyrgyzstan later I set foot in Kandahar with my increasingly heavy pack and my Suzy. Rolling out on missions was something I enjoyed. Will I say I wasn't scared? No, that would be silly and anyone that would tell you otherwise is a liar or a sociopath. However I always took comfort knowing that the sector I was scanning was always covered by me and Suzy. Even though there were times when I just wanted to dump every heavy loathsome piece of equipment on the ground, I'd never do so to Suzy. Taking care each time I set her down to prevent any unnecessary harm. There were times, I'll admit, when she was abused. I'd be careless and toss her on my gear after a long days mission or slam her against something hard when I trying to find cover. Yet each and every day Suzy would continue to function, like a flawless angel always ready to deal death to those that would seek me harm. Coming home from Afghanistan was a process as long and as arduous as going to. Packing, repacking, and packing some more then flying and flying some more. I still feel bad about finally stepping foot in our Company AO, heading to the arms room and simply giving Suzy a rub down before throwing her in a rack. Making sure to make up for it a few days later with a good properly thorough cleaning. And so life returned to normal ( or as normal as it ever can ) after a long hard and heart breaking year overseas. Over the next few months I've been able to take Suzy for a few fun runs at the range and a cleaning now and then. Yet just like all chapters in life, this one is at a close. On June 23rd of 2011 I am returning home to Oregon after 4 very long years of service in the Army. Throughout all those years I've met friends, lost friends, found love and held on to it. I've seen night skies glow red in memory of the people we lost and mornings shine bright with the thoughts of my future. Throughout these many years I've always had my family there every step of the way to support me and more recently my beautiful lady back home. Yet there's one woman who stood by me through thick and thin, watched me blossom from a cherry private and watched me sink low when pain and memories came flooding back. I'll never forget Suzy. I have to leave and return home so that I can move on with my life and do greater things for the Country, my Country. Yet every time I think back to the sandbox or I'm throwing lead down range, I'll remember her. My Suzy. I'm sure to a whole lot of you this won't mean anything. Maybe you just know a gun as a gun, a tool to be used in the defense of oneself and others. However I'm sure there are a few of you out there who will read this and think back. You'll remember the times you had with your Suzy, when you trusted your life to her and when you had a blast just nailing tacks. Maybe I'm just a nut job, just another vet with PTSD but to my grave I will take, the memory of Suzy.