Trooper Sacrifice

3. Trooper Sacrifice-1I recently read the book “No Easy Day” by Mark Owen, which provides a firsthand account of the preparation and mission to capture Osama Bin Laden. It gives tremendous insight into the men and women who worked so hard to capture and kill him.

IT WAS NOT SO MUCH THE RAID THAT INTRIGUED ME, AS much as it was the preparation that went into it. The author, Mark Owens (alias), was a Navy SEAL, a member of Seal Team Six, and one of a few selected to plan, train and ultimately execute the mission. I was amazed by the discipline it takes to be a member of that prestigious team. Before they hit the compound that held Osama, thousands of hours went into training and preparation for a raid that would last only 30 minutes.

In order to be part of this elite fighting team Mark had to go through intense training and was tested in his skills. At one point during close quarter combat training, he forgot to say the simple word of “moving” when advancing down the room. Minor detail right? Not to a Navy SEAL, who was required to function with perfection. They could allow no minor mistakes and had to continually improve their Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. Not just any squad was tasked with capturing Bin Ladin, it was only the best of the best, the standard they had was absolute perfection. This took a great deal of discipline on the individual part of each team member. Mark had to work extra hard, put forth 110% effort all the time. He was not doing this for himself, but for the men who stood beside him. He had no idea one day he would be tasked with the mission to take out the world’s most dangerous terrorist. But the daily acts of his life and commitment to training put him in a position that when the call came he was ready. Sadly, some were not.

What does it mean to be disciplined? There are examples of disciplined individuals all around us. Mark Owen would be one example. He awoke each morning, gave 110%, focused on perfection in training, and made the daily sacrifices to become the tool he was. He accepted No Easy Days! Discipline and training are often only associated to sports or athletics. Not every professional athlete is disciplined; in fact, I would say many are not. Many folks are naturally gifted, but to be disciplined takes the 4 letter word that many people fear, WORK.

I cannot help but be inspired by those people who have disciplined themselves enough to achieve a lifelong goal. Larry H. Miller was driven to make Utah a better place to work and live. He was successful because he led a disciplined life of getting up early, taking advantage of each second of every day. He was a man of pure integrity, and there were No Easy Days in his life. He worked to make his dream a reality. Look around Utah, I think we can all see the State is much better off because this man’s example. Larry had a saying “go about doing good until there is too much good in the world”. He truly lived that by example.

Many, who know me, know that I am inspired by those every day people who accomplish great things. I am amazed by those who have the internal drive to participate and complete an Ironman event. I have a good friend, Dale Ipson, who one day decided to make a life change, and began to exercise. This desire led to completing marathons, 200 mile bike races (LOTOJA), and long distance swimming events. Dale, who had a full-time job, family, and community commitments set off to tackle the St. George Ironman. Very early morning bike rides, late night swims, and weekend runs made up his life for many months before the event. All while still needing to fulfill his work and family commitments, Dale lived a life of discipline, No Easy Days. In 2011, Dale was able to accomplish his goal, and showed the “every day guy” that great things are possible.

Many of our best athletes spend all their time devoted to their specific sport. But what about the person who exceeds the “prime” age of a sport, who has a part-time job, kids to raise, a home to care for, and a community to serve? How can they ever find the time to not only compete, but also find the time to win at the highest level? Impossible some say? No, not when a person has the desire and the discipline to put forth the effort and work to make it happen. The winner of not easy. For him life has changed, but he is resolved to win. Why doesn’t he just give up? He is disciplined and his desire is greater than his pain.

The point I am trying to make is that anything is possible if we put our minds to it and discipline ourselves. Whether it is caring for a sick child, raising a family, running a marathon, competing in a sporting event or being a State Trooper, we can all achieve great things. We can all be great in whatever it is we want to do but it takes discipline and No Easy Days.

The men and women who hold the title of Trooper sacrifice a little bit of their lives every day for this great State. Although they are not all known individually, they all sacrifice and serve to make this State the best in the Nation.

A mother with very small children had her world turned upside down when it was announced her husband had died in a tragic accident. She lost the love of her life and was now faced with providing for her children alone. She was determined that her children would not suffer financially or emotionally from this loss. She worked two jobs a day, attended school functions, played ball with her kids and spent every waking hour supporting her family. There was No Easy Day for this mother. She slept very little and worked long hard hours for low pay. Her kids were raised, blessed with the essentials of life. This mother was disciplined as she cared for her kids.

A Sergeant with the UHP was investigating a crash when he was struck. His hand was completely torn from his arm. This Sergeant was back on the job within weeks and is determined to wear the uniform again. The long hours of physical therapy and pain that comes is

In the Utah Highway Patrol we are looking to be a more disciplined department in 2013. Every year we are looking to improve, to save more lives, work harder, and serve better. We are never satisfied with the successes of years past. The only way to gain success is by the individual actions of each one of our 424 State Troopers.

I am inspired by our State Troopers who have chosen to live a life of discipline when it comes to their duties. They may not be the top performers in a single category, may not get daily praise, or are well-known by the community, but they are the ones who go to work each day prepared for whatever is thrown at them. They are well-trained because they believe in staying proficient, making each day a training day. These are the men and women who seek perfection in themselves, knowing they will come up short, but never drop their standard. They seek additional training opportunities, and share that knowledge with others. These men and women place themselves in a position to serve, rather than running away from

their responsibilities. They take the time to do things the right way, and use integrity as their guide. These Troopers go out of their way to help one another, and those around them. They are the first to respond to a call, and the last to leave after the job is done. They are the ones who see the snow falling and gear up to help; even knowing they are off duty. They have a burning desire to represent the patch on their shoulder, and the name on their tag. This is not an easy task, it takes discipline, and there are No Easy Days.

There is not one State Trooper who does not have the desire to serve. Ask all 424 Troopers if they wish they could have been at the doorsteps of Sandyhook Elementary when a crazed killer walked in. They all want to be in a position to make an intervention, to prevent others from being killed, injured, or harmed. Troopers want to respond to those stranded motorists when there is no one else to help. They want to take the drunk driver off the street before they kill someone, interdict large loads of drugs to prevent them from harming others, or provide comfort in chaotic crash scenes. In order to be in the position to respond to these types of events, and be prepared to handle the many challenges of the day, it takes discipline. The job of a State Trooper can be very dangerous, and it takes great skill. This can be seen in police pursuits and use of force situations. In order to perform these tasks with success, a Trooper must be well-disciplined. And this comes only by personal choice, and by the day-to-day preparation of each Trooper.

We have a great Organization led by a great man, Commissioner Lance Davenport. Our goal is for continual improvement so that all 424 Troopers are prepared to “save the day” when called upon. The best and only way to accomplish that is for each of us to desire to be great, and then discipline ourselves to accomplish that goal. Just as Mark Owen prepared his entire life to “save the day”, never knowing when that day would come. We have many Troopers who prepare themselves each and every day not knowing when they will need to use those skills to save a life. These are those Troopers who are well-disciplined in their profession.

The men and women who hold the title of Trooper sacrifice a little bit of their lives every day for this great State. Although they are not all known individually, they all sacrifice and serve to make this State the best in the Nation. I am ever so thankful to be part of their group.

Colonel Danny Fuhr

Utah Highway Patrol Superintendent