My Thoughts About Danny

A little over eight years ago, I lost one of my greatest mentors and a man I looked up to with so much reverence and respect. I used to call him “sir,” but I think by now enough time has passed where “TK” would be cool with me calling him by his nickname. That was my first visceral experience with the idea of sudden, unexpected death. We all lose loved ones, but when they’re young, when you least expect it, when you live every day as if you’re just going to see that person again in…


Our Army is no stranger to being away from home for the holidays. My wife used to have a running count of all the birthdays, weddings, Valentines’ Days, Thanksgivings, and Christmases I had missed since we got married, but I think she just gave up. After getting to know more senior officers and NCOs through the years, we realized our list dwarfs in comparison to many.

Some of my fondest memories are of holidays away from home. Together, we learned to make the best of it. In Afghanistan, we did a Secret Santa on Christmas Eve with gag gifts (I…


“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

Often misquoted, British political philosopher and public servant John Stuart Mill delivered the above statement in a speech to the University of St. Andrews in 1867. Just six months earlier, 44 blacks and 3 of their white allies were murdered by a group of ex-Confederates in the New Orleans Mechanics Institute Massacre of 1866. Many of the blacks who were shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, and executed in broad daylight were war veterans. They were protesting the “Black Codes” to ensure the Reconstruction…

Gabe Royal

Husband, Father, U.S. Army Officer (views are my own, not DOD)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store