i thought it might be okay to share this with everyone, if you're interested. It relates to the conclusion to a very personal battle I've been fighting on behalf of my beliefs. I know I probably sound crazy, but this is how I wanted to spend my leave time this year from the Navy here in Yokosuka, Japan. After being turned down three times on three seperate occasions by my commanding officer (who's allowed me to revise my argument and gain more support over the past three attempts leading up to this week), he approved my fourth request and forwarded me up all the way to the 7th fleet admiral. Though he could not see me due to scheduling issues, he invited me to submit a short statement to support my request. The Navy's main reason for not allowing me to go is fear of terrorism from Sudanese groups or militias, as well as the possibility of warfare being spread into where I would be for three weeks. Sir, In the past six months, I have struggled to meet my chain of command's criteria for approving my taking leave to Chad, on the outskirts of Darfur, where genocide is being committed and more than a million lives hang in the balance. Though turned down three times previously, I continued my efforts and at all times my manner and tone have remained respectful, as noted by the senior members of the ship who put comments in this request chit. Instead of giving me a firm, final "no", all have encouraged me to improve and better articulate my reasons for requesting leave in this troubled area. Their motivation for doing so is my unique background with respect to this situation. Since the age of 10, I have sworn that when I became a grown man, I would give my all to prevent genocide and the continued existence of nightmarish regimes such as the Taliban or Saddam Hussein's Iraq. This solemn promise stems from a young boy who watched his career Army parents agonize over not being deployed to halt the ethnic cleansing commited by the Serbian fascists in Bosnia. My parents are good, hard working people. They gave two decades to their country without qualms, hoping their service would help the world I grew up in to be a better, safer, more just place. Though this has not happened yet, the lessons they imparted on me: to strive for justice, to work for improvement, to defend the weak, these all greatly shape the man I am today. I hope I honor them today through my actions now and in the past, in gaining skilled humanitarian aid training, in travelling to South Africa to treat AIDS victims, in assisting Haitian refugees fleeing political violence, in spending a week along the border with Mynamar as part of a Navy medical project, treating asylum seekers and their children who have fled from that nation's military regime. I had hoped to use this training and dedication on my personal time to assist genocide survivors in the Darfur region and ultimately, to bear witness, as I have since I was 10, to the pain and suffering of others. In bearing witness to unspeakable evils and tragedies, I promise to do my best for the victims, both through treatment and through spreading the word of their plight to others. I am religious, and the past six months, my faith has grown. That faith, and the promise I made to myself and to God, is what has brought this matter to you today. All I ask for is the chance to honor the ideals of America I have learned in the Navy and before I enlisted. To assist others in need, to protect the weak, to stand up for justice where tyranny and evil wish to triumph, these are ideals generations before me have enshrined in reality. I hope to continue that honorable tradition in the Darfur region. ________________________________________________________________ so i get it back today "disapproved".... the admiral says its too dangerous. I agonize over being left on the sidelines, but I respect his decision and know its the final call. But I'm left with the sinking feeling: what else can I do for those in Darfur besides what I'm already doing, spreading awareness, raising funds and writing my leaders.