About Me

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I'm the author of four books: Warrior SOS, The Work of Death, Together Forever, and Leaders Wanted. I'm in the doc film Please Remove Your Shoes. I've blogged for The Washington Times, and I write for Guns.com. I've worked for the high-profile U.S.-led Roadmap to Mideast Peace in Israel and Palestine. I've also worked as a SWAT team leader, a Federal Air Marshal and a sole-source training instructor on a classified contract with a U.S. government customer. My master's degree is in Military Studies and terrorism. I'm a former noncommissioned and commissioned Army officer, with service in Iraq. I've been Scuba diving and skydiving; I have trained with members of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, and I'm an FBI-trained crisis negotiator. My interests lie in helping others and in strengthening America through inspiring moral courage, government fiscal responsibility and accountability, and maintaining principles that have made--and will continue to make--the United States of America a blessed and prosperous country. I'm a father of six, a husband, and a police officer. I reside in Utah, and I'm a Mormon. See also https://jeffreydenning.wordpress.com.

January 24, 2013

The Hands -- a powerful poem by Richard Brewer

The following is a brief commentary and a poem written by warrior-advocate and Marine, Rich Brewer, founder of One Warrior Won

I wrote this shortly after putting the cold steel of my weapon in my mouth, then realizing “My Hands” were not done yet.  By the grace of God my journey continues, and with BBOWW, we will march forward and make sure so many others never get to the point so many of us already have!! 

The Hands

The hands that were once used as a pacifier for a new born child.
The hands that were used to reach out to hold my mothers legs.
The hands that were held by my parents to ensure I stayed close by.
The hands that awkwardly wrote that first love note in third grade.
The hands that were used as a teenager to prove my self worth.
The hands that reached out and held my first girlfriend.
The hands that struggled to breakaway from ordinary and reached for extra-ordinary.

These were the hands that rose and swore to defend this nation from the enemy; foreign and domestic.
These were the hands that nervously grasped the stair rails of a bus bound for Parris Island in the middle of the night.
These were the hands that were held tight to the seams of my “trousers” while being screamed at standing on yellow footprints.
These were the hands that climbed obstacles they never thought possible, that learned to defend for the righteous.
These were the hands that first felt the cold comfortable steel of my newly issued M16A1 rifle.
These were the hands that spent weeks feeling, touching, learning every part of the very weapon that was to keep me and others alive.
These were hands that proudly had the Eagle, Globe and Anchor pressed into its palm transforming from a mere mortal to a Marine.
These were the hands that committed to God, Country, and Corps.
These were the hands that embraced the brotherhood that has been bonded by blood, sweat and tears.

These were the hands that grasped the seat of the swaying Chinook at it took evasive action while delivering us to the hostile shores.
These were the hands that held firm, aimed true and gently squeezed the trigger to silence a different set of hands that will forever remain unknown.
These were the hands that steadied scared people as they were gently pushed to waiting choppers to carry them from the surreal reality of war to safety.
These were the hands that held the head of youth, shattered by a snipers bullet, providing comfort awaiting the last breathe.
These were the hands that held my own head down in holes never deep enough as the rounds pounded way to close.
These were the hands that waved good-bye to thousands of Marines as they sailed away from the hostile shore.
These were the hands that grasped tightly to the fourteen Marines left behind to guard the bees’ nest that had been vigorously stirred.
These were the hands that clasped tightly every night in prayer to preserve my life until I woke, and again in the morning to pray to survive the day.

These were the hands that waved frantically to my office colleagues to take cover as I grabbed my weapon and ran towards the noise. 
These were the hands that reached for that sliding glass door that allowed me to step onto the exposed balcony.
These were the hands that attempted to hold steady the weapon I knew so well, only to have it blown from my hands by the force of the bomb.
These were the hands that flew through the air for untold feet only to crash against the collapsing wall.
These were the hands that were buried and felt my own body to see if it was in one piece.
These were the hands that scratched, clawed, and dug my way out from what I believed to be a premature coffin, only to hear and see the hell unfolding around me and wanting to crawl back into my hole.
These were the hands that would hold the soon to be lifeless bodies of two close buddies trying to make their last moments less lonely.
These were the hands that would dig, uncover and carry untold numbers from the burning and destroyed building.
These were the hands that again took hold of my precious weapon and stood guard against a secondary attack.
These were the hands that held my body off the ground as I fell to my knees, not knowing why until it was realized the blood covering me was my own.
These were the hands that shakily signed me out of a field hospital to return to the pile of flesh infested rumble.
These were the hands that stood guard over the ground that only mere moments ago stood the American Embassy for four sleepless days.
These were the hands that wiped away dust from my eyes and wished for the tears that never came to flow.

These are the hands that now try to hold a fragile life and family together.
These are the hands now that try to hold a beast within at bay.
These are the hands today that hold a wonderful wife.
These are the hands that two young children rush to for safety and love.
These are the hands that have tried to teach young minds the perils and purpose of war.
These are the hands that have provided protection to communities from those who wish them harm.
These are the hands that have shied from friendship for fear of being exposed.
These are the hands that are never idle in fear of some distant unseen enemy.
These are the hands that for years never reached out, stoically staying by my side.
These are the hands that wrapped themselves around a bottle, the only medicine able to take the unseen but always present pain away.
These are the hands that hide the scars that so many do not wish to see, yet so many of us bear.

These are the hands that have reached out after 25 years for help, and were slapped by those professing to be helpers.
These are the hands that had to enter battle all over again simply to be recognized as worthy of treatment and care.
These are the hands that have been clasped together in prayer for someone to understand.
These are the hands that have been clenched in anger over those who have never served making us prove we indeed did serve.
These are the hands that have flailed about speaking jargon others seem to think is a foreign language.
These are the hands that have spent countless hours typing rebuttals to the appeals of my appeals.
These are the hands that have fantasized about being around the neck of so many who say they are there to help, but never do.
These are the hands that have been thrown in the air, and wishing to wash themselves of the entire process.

These are the hands that have written farewell notes to loved ones; too tired to go on.
These are the hands that have tried to write, hoping to get someone to see what I feel.
These are the hands that have grasped the cold comfortable steel of an old trusted friend in hopes of ending the pain and suffering.
These are the hands that held a family vacation itinerary in one hand, and the end in the other.
These are the hands that God made and Parris Island perfected.
These are the hands that have saved so many, and protected so much.
These are the hands that have lost battles, but will eventually win the War.

These are the hands that remain clasped in prayer every night, praying that justice will prevail for me, and all who suffer from the beast within.

These hands paid a dear price for this country.  Now it is time for this country to pay a little back. 

All gave some; Some gave all. What has the country given to them?

THIS poem and an interview with Richard Brewer, and many others will soon be featured in a forthcoming book about warriors with wounds and PTSD. Be sure to check out Warrior SOS for updates. 

To read amazing interviews, including an interview from Richard Brewer, check out Warrior SOS, the book available on Amazon.com  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

Rescue US Marine (Military Intelligence) held in Iran

I couldn't sleep last night, knowing there was a U.S. Marine held captive with the sentence of death looming about him.

Wall Street Journal: Ex-Marine Reaches 500 Days of Imprisonment in Iran

Of course, there's no such thing as an "Ex"-Marine; they're just Marines.

Here's the letter I sent to my U.S. Representative and Senators:

Amir Hekmati is being held prisoner and under the death penalty in Iran. He is a former linguist from the US Marine Corps. He was born in the US. He is a veteran of the Iraqi war. 

I personally know one of his former Marine Corps friends very well. I've vetted them both. 

I am a veteran of Iraq and have a Top Secret government clearance. I cannot imagine how horrible it is to be in his shoes. I pray he is still alive. 

Please act immediately to see that he is safe. 

Urgently and Respectfully, 

Jeffrey Denning

For more information, check out these links:

Amir Hekmati, a former marine and decorated war veteran, was born in Arizona and raised in Michigan. Within weeks of setting foot in Iran for the first time in August 2011 to visit his grandmother, he was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned.  Months later he appeared on Iranian TV, forced to confess he was a CIA operative. The U.S. State Department denies he was spying for the U.S. government and calls the case a gross miscarriage of justice. While Amir languishes in prison, his health deteriorating, and his father dying of cancer, his family pleads with the Iranian government to let him go free.
Source: CNN

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

January 21, 2013

War and the Work of Death

War and the Work of Death
by Jeffrey Denning

Warrior SOS

from my column at http://newscornerusa.com/jdenning.html (no longer operable)

The warrior is taught and trained and encouraged to destroy. His skill lies in battle. A physical battle between bodies and of souls--his own soul, his own life or the life of his comrade, and those enemies seeking his destruction. In seeking death, the warrior dies. 'Tis possible to die, but to go on living. Those select veterans and their family members understand what that means. They "get it." They understand the significance of it.

Or do they?

The warrior's greatest asset is to shut off a portion of his own yearning for life. This is the ultimate sacrifice. Dying is not what the warrior seeks, but to be skilled enough to kill, and to kill well. The most effective and efficient warriors will begin to not care for life. Not that they will murder intentionally, unjustly injure those who do not "deserve" it, but that they can dispose of the life and the body of the enemy, at least to some degree--to raise their rifle, to look him in the face and to watch the enemies' body go flaccid and limp. Such a mental image and such a physical act--including the training for such up-close and personal ending of life altercations--has its repercussions. Of course it does. It should.

The greatest fear may not be that life will end, but that he will end the life of another or that he will fail his team. In some aspects, and under some conditions, this transforms the warrior where he now considers himself less civil. Unworthy. Unable to cope with himself--whether he couldn't save a buddy or whether he took a life or many lives in war. Certainly more circumstances exist than these. Regardless, the warrior now views the world differently. He is a changed man. His life has already ended although he remains awake. Although alive, he may feel dead. He may feel life is over.

But this is not all. Much deeper is the departing life and energy he once knew.

The searing that comes under war can paralyze. Such a fear of being wounded or the fear of the unknown--what shall occur upon death of his own body--can cause acute physical stiffening. In such a mental position the warrior physically freezes. But training will force him to continue on, if not for someone beside him yelling at him to attack or retreat.

Naturally he may want to run. To flee. To get to safety. But the most effective warrior will cease to live. He will neither care for his own life nor the life of his enemy. He may only care for his comrade and brother-in-arms. He is professional. He is emotionally numb to some degree. That is survival.

Once such a warrior has ceased to live on the battlefield, his emotions become fluid to physical acts, his nerves become more relaxed. Instead of freezing, he can now muster the energy to kill. His reactions improve. His instincts develop.

In the state of his own lifelessness, beginning first in his mind, paradoxically he is now in greater control of life--at least while in the war zone. His skill melds with his mind, and vice versa. The chemistry and physiological nature of his mortal body now work in harmony with the mission he has. Target discretion improves; target acquisition improves; readiness and willingness improves, for he is willing to die but more willing to kill.

In short, he doesn't care much anymore. He ceases to care about his own physical injuries. He ceases to believe in the hope of his survival, although he holds on to the daydreams of yesteryear. He stares death in the face. And he feels that sooner or later he will depart. The fear and willingness to live dies before he dies. That makes an effective fighting warrior. But it has tremendous setbacks after the battle is over. The battle never leaves him entirely although he may leave the battle scene.

In a constant state of battle, his mind and psyche change. He is altered emotionally. He becomes conditioned to living war. That is where he lives. That is where he thrives. War becomes him and he becomes a part of war. He becomes effective at this work, although he may not believe it himself always. And for some reason his experiences in the foray will alter the course of his life forever.

His survival instinct grows. Or rather his instinct for physical war develops in a way that he becomes a hunter...and the hunted. It is not simple survival. It is man against man, warrior against enemy, man against the machines of death and carnage. This survival is the most complex of all, latent in some, swollen in the minds of those who understand and have lived the work of death.

The lack of reprieve, the semblance of normality, is bereft. Even a short R&R will not bring him home again. Physically he may be there. But he is not there. He may mask his own development from those who know him best. But it cannot hide forever. He cannot hide in war. And his war continues on within him. The course of his life is altered forever. He may find coping mechanisms; he may find emotions and changes will adapt over time to his peaceful living; but that which he experienced and that which his mind altered (chemically, emotionally and psychologically), have forever changed the course of his existence.

In war he is nice to have around, for it would not take long for those survival instincts and deft reactions to be stirred up again. But without a war to fight, he may be lost. He does not want to fight anymore; he tries to let it go. Or, he will volunteer to go back to the battle, in some way or in some form.

In seeking the work of death he has died himself. And unless he can find a meaning and reason and a purpose for living, he will go on living as though he is dead.

Be sure to check out Warrior SOS, the book.
on Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

PTSD and the Soul

Indeed, psychotherapists are trained not to talk much about spirituality or morality in the first place, but these are precisely the dimensions we must address in order to evolve strategies for identity reconstruction and soul restoration. 

...Moral pain, with its incumbent harm to the soul, is a root cause of PTSD. If we do not address the moral issues we cannot alleviate it no matter how much therapy or how many medications we apply. 

-- Edward Tick, "War and the Soul: Healing our Nation's Veterans from PTSD.” 

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK