“A tactical hipster, hunting gluten free tacos.” That’s what I was called the other day.  Instantly judged because of a fit, tattooed body and badass beard complete with hand tattoos. “trying to be a soldier.”

Photo Credit Andras Schram

They see the tattoos but not their meaning and they see my beard but not my eyes.

So who the fuck is this dude, the tattooed skier? The tactical hipster, so to speak.

In simple terms, I’m a small town Alberta boy who grew up as a military brat with a happy go lucky attitude.  So let’s explore that.

I’m a product of four generations of soldiers.  Lessons and values where handed down to me that where learned in the mud of France during WWI and in the skies of Europe and Burma during WWII.

My father was a paratrooper who became an airforce loadmaster. I grew up understanding the meaning behind “How far?! All the way!”   It’s these values that I brought with me on my journey to be a soldier.

Throughout my life many have doubted me, but I was never on that list.  Taking the strong work ethic and values of determination, fortitude and commitment which were passed down to me, I pushed forward.

I have been a warrior and in the warrior culture nothing is given and everything is earned.  I believe I have earned and continue to earn the respect of my fraternity – the Princess Patricas Canadian Light Infantry.  I do this not by words or speech but by action and direction.

It is in preparation for battle that the warrior understands his true self.  It is in my personal experience with war that I have begun to understand the true nature of a warrior.

Nietche says, “When you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Only an elite few of us are privileged to fully comprehend this concept.

Not unlike many other warriors, I am lion scarred by battle I know fear, I have seen death, understand suffering and comprehend loyalty in the way only those who have experienced it will understand.

Although I may look like a hipster – I rocked a beard and a good haircut long before skinny jeans where cool. The tattoos inked permanently on my body are memorials of fallen friends and reminders to be better, everyday.  The comrades that inspired this art are truely great men and Canadians. I’m proud to have walked beside them and grateful to have know them, fortunate to havelaughed with them, stronger for have suffered with them, and proud to have mourned them.

I guess if you go by looks alone, I’m more tactical hipster than tattooed skier.  I have learned in life never to truely trust what you hear or see when it comes to people.  It’s what you listen to and witness in action that matters.

On that note, I’ll let my actions continue to speak for my character and continue to share my experience as a Canadian Soldier with my tactical and practical experience in the gunfighting world.