Josh Revak

distinguished career of service - combat wounded veteran

Crutchhiker, In The Hours Of Darkness is an album dedicated to the legacy of the men and women of 1st Armored Division, 1st Brigade, 1-37 "BANDITS".

In 2003, while I was packing a vehicle in preparation for a long deployment to Iraq, I found space to include a Takamine 6-string guitar that my dad had given to me as a gift just before I joined the army. Over the course of the deployment the guitar proved to be a valuable asset to me. It shaped my military experience in every way and allowed our unit to have a voice. I wrote songs about everyday life during deployment, raw feelings associated with war, humorous pokes at military life and the devastating heartbreak of close friends fallen in combat.

In the summer of 2003 I attended a memorial service for a service member I didn't know personally. After the service, I was left with a lump in my throat that wouldn't subside. The service was eerie and dry-eyed. No one mourned, nor visually displayed any emotion whatsoever, but I could feel the fear and anger like a heavy fog set all around us. There wasn't closure through a grieving process, which should be a primary purpose of a memorial service.

Josh Revak and Trenton Dull perform "Alaska" at memorial for Sgt. Timothy Hayslett

Josh Revak and Trenton Dull perform "Alaska" at memorial for Sgt. Timothy Hayslett

On November 15th, 2003, Sergeant Timothy Hayslett was killed while on patrol in Baghdad Iraq. This was a devastating blow to our unit and our moral. Sgt. Hayslett was known and loved by nearly everyone in the unit. I had taken a college German language course with him before we deployed and had a deep respect and admiration for him. He was a natural leader.

ALBUM: Crutchhiker

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Distraught to learn of his death and unfulfilled by the absence of grieving in previous memorial services, I wrote a song for my own grieving process called, "Alaska". I had seen Sgt Hayslett in our internet cafe the day before his death. He was showing me pictures of Fairbanks, Alaska, the post where he would have been headed in just days, had he not been killed. The song was raw and lamenting. Members of our command caught word of the song and were convinced that the original music would provide a more inviting atmosphere for healthy grieving. They were right. I don't think there was a dry eye in the auditorium, including mine.

Though it was among the most emotionally difficult tasks I've ever had to endure, I was committed to replicate the process with an original memorial service song for all the memorial services to come. I had no idea who I'd be writing a song for next. 

In 2007, while recovering from combat wounds, I recorded the compilation of songs I had written throughout the two deployments to Iraq and time between deployments in Germany. I released the Crutchhiker album in honor of my fallen friends. The feedback was more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. I couldn't be more honored to play a small role in helping my battle buddies grieve and laugh through music. I never could have imagined that music could play such a powerful and personal role in such trying times. This music in many ways is the soundtrack to my life. I hope you enjoy it.

Copyright © 2016 Josh Revak. All Rights Reserved. Photography by Josh Martinez.