Java and The Burning House

Two years ago, a buddy asked for a picture of everything I’d take with me if my house were burning down. I laughed and said how soon do you need it because I already have a million of those shots and his name is Java.

But I played along, sort of: my green beret, my grandfather’s flag, blah blah blah. The picture turned out OK and I don’t love it because the stuff in the background can burn down with the house and no I’m not the flag burning kind of guy.

The irony, if that’s even the word, is that my life burned down a couple months ago and I didn’t get to take what mattered most. And damn if I didn’t try and welcome to the world and if you lose everything, at least you had everything to lose. Thanks for your outpouring of support among my ruins. I haven’t really answered any of your letters or comments or the messages you’ve sent by every means except maybe carrier pigeon. But I’ve gotten them all, I’ve read them all, and thank you. When someone’s life gets worse and you don’t know what to do, send them a letter or a picture or something. It’s hard but it’s nice to get.

Java_Foster Huntington_The Burning House_outtake_03
The foreground is different than the background of our lives. The things that matter aren’t things at all and we love them more because they don’t last forever and neither do we.

And it’s that time of year for leftovers and eggnog and football games and it’s a great time of year and I’ll live it up if you will.


  1. Brett Po says:


    This deserves to be etched in stone:
    “The foreground is different than the background of our lives. The things that matter aren’t things at all and we love them more because they don’t last forever and neither do we.”


    Awesome post brother.

  2. Bryan Black says:


    Java had an impact on everyone he crossed paths with and we’re all the better for it. Seeing Java on top of a 14’er during the first Ascent was truly inspirational and something I’ll never forget.

    I for one have to work hard to keep focused on those “things that aren’t things” in my life, which I’m guilty of taking for granted on more days than I’d like.

    Thanks for the reminder of what’s important; Java will forever be etched into the minds of all those he’s impacted.


  3. Joe DeFillipo says:


    GORUCK and Java have changed the way I look at life and made me a better person for it. Thank you for sharing.


  4. Bob Everson says:

    Great post Jason – thought provoking as always. Glad to see you coming back out after a dark period. Cheers Brother.

  5. Ruben says:

    A mans dog is more than a companion he is a reflection of who one is and to lose someone so special is truly a heartbreaking thing to go through. I truly am sorry for the loss of your companion. Just know that he will forever be by your side until the day he is waiting for you in the Hall.

  6. C.C. Chapman says:

    You are an amazing man and Java was an amazing dog and friend.

    He’ll never be far from any of us and I’m glad to see you posting again. Glad to know you are putting things back together.

    Miss you and keep on living the good life.

  7. Dave hart says:

    Heartbreaking and true.. The only ones we truly care about are often the ones more easily lost.
    Unfortunately we tend to pay attention to material things rather than people or loved ones or experiences.

  8. Roman Rauhala says:

    As said before Jason, you and Java built GORUCK and we jumped onboard because of what it is and what it means and what it stands for.. I love the Cadre, the Good Livin, my fellow GORUCKERS and also love my GORUCK gear and carry it with pride knowing who made it and why you started all this..take care and God bless brother..

  9. Bobby Carbon says:

    I just saw someone tweet a link to this post. I Don’t know what compelled me to reach out earlier this morning of all days…but wow.


  10. Kevin S says:


    Live this holiday season up as you said and remember that Java is still with you, just not physically. I say this to you not as 1 person to another but as a caregiver for a father who is Stage IV.

    “The foreground is different than the background of our lives. The things that matter aren’t things at all and we love them more because they don’t last forever and neither do we.”

    This should be a moto for your company as well as life. I hope everyone found this statement as profound as I did. I hope you all the cadre and all people on this site have a wonderful holiday season. Jason keep your head up and remember the great times you had with a wonderful friend and tip a beer to him.

  11. Cryptowolf says:

    Jason, your words offer comfort to many who have also lost a dear furry friend. I honor Lucy’s memory by living the best life I can. I trust you do the same.

    I’ll also try to live it up during this holiday season because the things that really matter, “Don’t last forever, and neither do we.”

    Thank you

  12. Benny Rodriguez says:

    Through my deployments, marriage, births of two wonderful kids, and now divorce, there has been one constant. My pal Bodhi. I couldn’t even begin to write something that you have perfectly stated.

  13. Matt says:

    I’ve come back to reread this post at least once a week for the past couple of months. Jason has turned into a warrior poet.

  14. tdg says:


    i’ve been in the military for 30 years and i’m a career urban firefighter. I still cry when i think of my dogs and it’s been 5 years since they have gone. your new pal will change things, they’re like kids, they’re different, but you love em the same.

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