Monday, December 27, 2004

It's Time To Go

Well, it is the eve of my deployment, and my troops and I are ready. It is not clear if all of them know exactly what they are getting into, but as one of their leaders, I know they've been trained.

We all got to spend Christmas with our families, and that was a pleasant surprise from Uncle Sam. You see, when I was on active duty, my wife and I were married for only 6 weeks before I deployed for Desert Shield/Storm #1. I signed into Ft. Bragg on Aug. 1st as a brand new 2nd Lt., and Kuwait was invaded on the 2nd. I was instructed not to move my wife to town because I would not be there long myself. That was how we spent our first Christmas.

The next year, after being home for about eight months, I received a no-notice deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that is how we spent our second Christmas. Thus, we have three ornaments that say "our first Christmas." So, you can understand why I was skeptical about getting to spend this Christmas with my family. I'm glad I lost that bet.

We are scheduled to fly into the theater of operation and receive more training before we go to our duty positions in Iraq. I will probably be off the net for a few weeks. Even though we've known of this deployment for months now, it still comes as a shock that I'm getting ready to leave.

My wife is overwhelmed with feelings of abandonment, even with all of the family and friends she has to assist her. She really is a remarkable woman, and I do thank God every day that she is part of my life. My boys, 8yrs, 4yrs, and 9 weeks - all have different perspectives. The 8 yr old believes he knows how difficult it will be without dad around, but I can't believe that he really has a grasp on the reality of the situation. The 4 year old is pretty much oblivious, but his energy in everything he does is contagious and just makes me laugh. The baby is doing all that a baby should do and will be a hand full for my wife while I'm gone.

My story is not that unique, and I'm sure that every soldier young or old has a story of what toll serving our country takes on family and friends. I will continue the blog and give my views on what I see as well as stories I hear. I'll write as soon as I can.

Editor's Notes: I had lunch with the soldier and his family last week. His humility and sense of duty are evident and inspiring. He will depart at 21:20 on 29 December. And he is correct that his wife is an amazing woman - strong, beautiful, smart, and steady.