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Smoking Saves the Lives of American Soldiers - a documented case

Updated on September 16, 2012
Billrrrr profile image

Bill Russo is featured in the film & TV show, The Bridgewater Triangle & has written several books (both fiction & non) on Amazon Kindle.

It's bad for you...but it can be a lifesaver

Typical American Volunteer Soldiers...Bless 'em all

How a pack a day habit can be really good for you


Okay, we all know smoking cigarettes is very bad for your health. But when you are in war, there are a lot of things that are worse for your health: Roadside bombs, snipers, suicide squads, and insane kidnappers quickly spring to mind.

Weighed against those immediate threats, the distant dangers from a pack of Red & Whites seem trifling to some soldiers. They're much more worried about making it through another day in bleak, war-torn Iraq or Afghanistan, than about the prospect of a lung disease forty or fifty years in the distance.

On a dreary afternoon in Mosul, one of the hotspots for insurgent activity during 2007, Cigarette smoking was directly responsible for saving several American soldiers,

That day began like every other day for the squad. Responsible for securing about a hundred miles of the ragged border between Iraq and Turkey, they alternated stays in four makeshift barracks/HQ. They would work out of one base for a few days and then move on to the next. Their tedious operation ran on for months.

Clean out one area. Move on to the next...then the next...then the next...then back to the first base.

The small group of fighters was led by my son, a Sergeant who had been called up from the National Guard after Nine Eleven, and who has remained on active duty ever since. He transferred out of his Massachusetts unit when he found out they WERE NOT going to Iraq. He volunteered for a Southern calvary unit when he found out they WERE going to Iraq.

After checking his Laptop around 1500 that afternoon, my son decided to have a cigarette.

"Okay guys, everybody outside," he said, "It's time for a cigarette break".

Most everybody was at the door in an instant.

"I don't smoke Sergeant. I'm going to stay inside.", said a young E3.

"That wasn't an offer Private. That was an order. In this unit we all stay together. Outside, now!", commanded my son.

Seconds later as they began to ignite their smokes, a screaming rocket scored a direct hit on their building and blasted it to rubble. The bunks they had been lying in moments before, were reduced to smouldering bits of rag. Their clothes, their personal effects, and everything else inside was destroyed....but they didn't suffer even a scratch!

Months afterward, on Christmas leave, as he told me the events of that day, my son said. "Everybody in the outfit was sure glad that I smoke. They were all jumping around and laughing and slapping me on the back cause I saved their lives but I was p....d off."

"Why were you upset?," I wondered.

"My laptop." He answered. "I left it inside. I had just bought it. I use it for work but it's not covered by the army. Now I'll have to spend a couple thousand dollars to buy another one."

"Maybe not," I told him. "I'll write a story about how smoking saved the lives of American Military and perhaps the cigarette company will purchase the laptop for you."

......So if anybody from Phillip Morris reads this....please send the Laptop to Sgt. Russo, care of me...his father.

Thanks in advance. Billrrrr


The economy is bad..but let's not forget our American volunteers who are serving here.

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    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      6 years ago from Cape Cod

      It's deep into 2012 and the Sgt. is now deployed in the State of Massachusetts. His current job is assisting returning veterans in civilian job placement. If you can - please hire a vet. Remember he, or she, volunteered to get in harm's way: to protect us.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      7 years ago from Cape Cod

      Thanks for the great comment. Never did hear from P.M. but still hope to. As for my soldier son. He has now completed long tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, is currently on R and R but is ready on 24 hours notice to go where his orders send him. "The military has trained me to do a job and I am very good at it", he tells his sisters when they ask him if he wants to leave the army.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I am grateful to read your son made it back. My brother is over there, but he isn't disarming bombs or anything thankfully. I am holding my breath till he gets back and it should be soon - but you know the military...

      Great story Billrrrr. I grabbed a pack of smokes a few weeks ago when the stress from working super late hours and overtime plus some nasty politics at work were really wearing me down. I am not a regular smoker, but I sure finished that pack! I know cigs aren't great, but they sure help.

      And I am going out on my patio to smoke my pipe. The pipe is an experiment, but I decided I like a cigar once or maybe twice a week and that's it, so I'm gonna finish the pipe tobacco and then buy cigars again. Sometimes the benefit of a bad habit outweighs the cons doesn't it?

      I don't suppose you ever heard back from Phillip Morris? Thanks for a good read and a good moral.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      7 years ago from Cape Cod

      The Sgt and his buddies are back from their Afghanistan tour. Everyone is fit - physically and mentally. There were a few paperwork problems for the vets - there always are. One of the soliders complained, "The Government better start taking care of the veterans or stop making them!"

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      9 years ago from Cape Cod

      Thanks for the great comment. Sgt.rrrr and his unit are bound for Afghanistan by 2010. In the meantime, he has drawn good duty at Camp Edwards - an 11,000 acre training facility on Cape Cod.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 

      9 years ago from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Wow good hub----Cmon cig companies--Put up for a laptop for this honorable soldier!!

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