04 December 2004
I have had a few e-mails from readers who show their support not only for me, but all the soldiers here. I can tell you that every bit of it means a great deal to me. There have been packages that have come in from Operation Gratitude and Operation Air Conditioner, that has made each and every one of us smile. We have soldiers in this platoon with friends and families back in the States who not only send things for their loved ones, but there have been several who have included the entire platoon as well. Each and every one of these selfless acts warms our hearts and gives us a little piece of home. Every piece of mail, every package, every card that I receive, whether it is from my family, my friends, or some anonymous stranger, lets me know that there are those who have not forgotten.
During this holiday season, remember those who are serving. I remember an article I read a few years back about this lady who was upset that the US Military was overpaid. A soldier’s answer was along these lines; “When you work all night, on weekends, spend birthdays and holidays away from your family, freeze in a damp foxhole, or melt in the middle of the desert, stay away from home for months on end, all to defend and support your country, then you can tell ME that the military is overpaid”. It is not only the soldiers who sacrifice; it is the families as well. There have been a couple of Thanksgivings and a couple of Christmases where I have either sat in a gaudily decorated dining facility in a foreign country, or sat down to one of the world famous and fine military entrees, i.e. the MRE, and thought to myself how good it would be to be home eating the meal that my wife was making. Then I come to the realization that that meal either is not made at all, or severely shortened due to the fact that I am not there. Christmas is lonely for my family when I am not home. Birthdays and anniversaries are not the same. Valentine’s Day seems to be just another day. Even just those special moments that are shared when I am at home are gone until my return. Families, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers all sacrifice when their soldier is not with them. So don’t forget them either. While the soldier is on the front-line, the family keeps the home fires burning.
I had a reader ask me about day to day life and how to stay alive. He seems to be concerned for his son who is on his way over here. Day to day life seems to a certain extent to be non-existent. I say this for the simple fact that every time we leave this camp, anything can happen, and on more than one occasion, the totally unexpected has happened. I can say that everyone here should hope for the best, but prepare and expect the worst. Staying alive is something that only training and preparation, both physically and mentally can prepare you for. If a soldier has a care-less attitude, well, there is a good chance he will buy the proverbial farm. However, the soldier who makes himself a “hard” target will most likely have a good chance for survival. Listening to your leadership is key. Listen to the Sergeants and the officers who have been here, or have been in this situation before. Take everything they say to heart. Learn it, live it, love it. Don’t ever relax your guard. The majority of people hurt or killed here resulted from the most likely cause of doing something they weren’t supposed to do, or not doing something they were supposed to do. Adhere to the standards set forth by your chain of command. They are there for a reason and they will stand you in good stead.
I will close this long winded posting for now and thank each and every one of you for what you do. America truly is great because most of her people still care and stand for what is right. Continue to stand for the hard right, rather than the easy wrong. God bless each and every one of you. Till next time.