As time passes by and life becomes a little more ordinary, it is still hard for me to ignore the events that took place during my last two years in the Marine Corps. Many memories will be forever seared in my mind. They certainly affected the way I carry myself through life today. No, I’m not traumatized, but in fact mesmerized by life again, enthralled by everyone’s role in this world’s existence. Many died during the PondPatrol Mission and that’s also hard to forget. But they didn’t die in vain. Their memories will live on as a reminder to all of those who will continue to serve humankind in harm's way around the world. As I mourn their loss of life and injury, I can’t help but to thank them in appreciation for their ultimate sacrifice and selfless duty to our Planet. As for us survivors, life must continue. After the Mulberry Ridge Military scandal the US Armed Forces closed the area for clean up. The Giant Turtles were relocated to a new research facility on the Nevada desert. Next month the Mulberry Ridge State Park is scheduled to open for the fist time in 26 years to the public. Ben or AHP-4 was never found despite several search missions launched by the military. The US Government speculates that Ben suffered severe side effects from radioactive exposure and died at the bottom of the pond. In my heart I believe he still alive, roaming the country side, making the ridge his home. I think about him all the time. Sergeant Palmer left the military life and went to write a series of comic books ironically entitled PondPatrol. His first installment earned him a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Reality-Based Work last year. I keep a copy of his work on my nightstand at all times. Malloy and Redman were both deployed to Iraq, just days after the end of Major Munsch’s trial. Last month I received this photo of them, which I keep dearly in my office. Private Rodriguez is also overseas. Last I heard he was stationed at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. Roy’s dishonorable discharge from duty was eventually forgiven by the President, although Roy never went back to service. Instead he chose to follow his old dream as a musician. His mom left the hospital not long ago. They still live in Pennsylvania. Professor Evgeny Kobiak is the only member of the original team who I still see often. The professor came to Buffalo to work for The New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences (COE). Coincidentally, Susan Walker sometimes works as his assistant. As for me, my days as a soldier are over. I turned down a sergeant promotion and left the military life to become an Operations Specialist for the Buffalo Federal Bureau of Investigation. It’s mostly a desk job and in essence, I connect the dots to help direct FBI operations to answer and gather intelligence. I’m happy there. In reality, it’s when I come home that I find myself even more content. To me, seeing my beautiful family at the end of a long day will always bring me joy. Yes, Susan and I got married. But the bliss of my life is my newborn, little Jill Harris. Her smiles are so amazingly cute. They just make me melt. Someday she’ll learn about the men and women of Pondpatrol. She’ll learn about their great reconnaissance journey — their bravery against great odds and skills as soldiers, their friendship and all their adventures. Their stories are my legacy to her.

Thank you for reading.

by Corporal John Harris, September 6, 2007