Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Preparing For R&R

Well, ten days before I leave LSAA en route to the States for my R&R. The anticipation to get home to see my family is overwhelming, to say the least. I've stated before that I underestimated how much I would miss the day to day events of my three sons, and even though I can never get that time back, I plan on making up for a lot during my two weeks at home. My wife and I have been working on a day by day itinerary, so that we maximize our time together. I'm sure it will all change as soon as I hit the ground, but it has been extremely therapeutic putting it together.

Our mission seems to have stabilized, which is a good thing, but that also means that the days are starting to crawl by. Activity in our area has lightened up recently. We've seen fewer mortars and rockets on post lately, despite what the news reports. Contact on our convoys remains about the same, mostly IED's and occasionally small arms fire.

The basketball team is still doing well. I played last week and pulled a groin muscle. I'd like to say it was doing something sexy like blocking a shot or going up for a slam dunk. But the reality is that it happened in the lay-up line before the second half started. My pride and my groin are recovering slowly.

We still don't have a definitive answer about our replacements. There are several rumors flying around. Some are good, meaning a shorter tour, and some are bad, meaning a longer tour. Things here can change so drastically in just a day that it is hard to tell what is going to happen until the moment actually arrives. I will just continue to have faith that the leadership is fully aware of our situation and is addressing the issue appropriately.

This tour has really opened a lot of people's eyes as to the role of the Reserves and National Guard in today's Army. We continue to hear the reports from Washington and their concern for retention and recruiting. What you don't hear a lot of is what is being done to help the efforts of those currently serving and the future soldiers that will make up the Army. I am concerned about how employers will begin to view someone applying to their organization as an active member of the Guard or Reserves. Employers will be keenly aware that this person could be called up with little or no notice to be deployed for one to two years, all the while the employer has to hold a slot for the activated employee.

It is a tough call for an employer - the irony between Patriotism and Capitalism. I just hope that everyone understands that without the ability that our Armed Forces currently possesses, they may not have the opportunity to be in business in the first place. So, if you are an employer of a Reservist or Guardsmen, or you are in a position to be an employer, thank you for your Patriotism! If you know of someone who employees an activated Reservist or Guardsmen, consider thanking them because they are truly serving and sacrificing for their country as well.

OK, enough "soap box" for now, did I mention that I get to go home in 10 days? I'll write again once I get home, and I look forward to seeing most of you during my short visit.

Until then, take care and God Bless.