Thursday, February 01, 2007

Making a Difference

It's been a while since I posted anything. You have all read or heard about the troop surge for OIF by now. This is causing me a lot of long hours and late nights. I generally report for duty around 06:30 and leave around 22:00. I have been burning up the roads between all the posts in Kuwait also. My staff is tired and so am I. I envy those whose R&R paperwork I endorse no matter where they go. I am overdue again and get one in March but that seems like such a long time from now.

On the flip side though, some of the people I beagn recruiting several months ago have started to arrive. It helps to have the people you know you can count on around you. People you trust make a difference. It is so tough sometimes that you wonder if you are making a difference. I have so many crappy days working issues that it just grinds on me. I wonder, "When will I have a good day?"

Last night I was at an airbase watching a chalk of personnel assembling to go to the flight line. The chalk was 1st Cav Troopers so I went over to talk with them. There was a very young PFC who was standing there and I asked him how he was. He looked at me and said, "I'm tired of this crap sir. I'm tired of being deployed. I miss my dog." I told him that I miss my dog too, and my wife, and my son. I told him that I spent three years in Iraq and that what we do is for all those we left behind including his dog. I told him it was OK to feel sad and that it was OK to want to be home but that it was more important to face his duty head on and do what he was trained to do. He smiled a little and said, "Thank you sir, most people don't say that it's OK to be sad. They think that because we are soldiers we can't feel that way." I asked him if he lived in Killeen and he told me he lived in Belton. I tossed some names at him and he does know some NCOs that I also know. This cheered him up a bit. I made small talk until they were called forward. I watched until he started up the steps of the bus. He turned and gave me a wave and a big smile before he went up the last step.

Like all the other Troopers on that bird last night he was going into a year of hell. I know he has good leaders, great equipment, sound battle plans, and all the support he needs. I hope he makes it back OK. I didn't look at his name tag and that was an omission I did on purpose. He is just like all the others. Nothing special and yet special in so many ways. The last time he was in a safe area was when he was talking with me. I will worry about this kid. He is young enough to be my son and indeed he is some one else's son.

As we left my battle buddy (It is our third deployment together and second war zone) was walking beside me and we made small talk. He told me that he was listening while I was talking with this young lion. He told me that I made the boy feel better about being a soldier and being there. He told me that my talk made a difference in that young man. You know what? That makes it worth it and that made it a good day.


Anonymous Fritz said...

I expected that you were off the radar because of "the surge". Good to hear your doing well. This post was a good read!

I know just how that young soldier felt after you reassured him. I have seen you work your stuff and have been the recipiant of it as well. Your good because your honest and you care, that comes through from you very clear. That is why you will always have my respect and friendship.

With all the crap that is going on back here in D.C. it is such a shame that people can not see this part of the war. Your story like so many others that are out there are not told and the American public is getting short changed by having them kept away from them.

Hang in there good Buddy and keep up the good work. God Bless you and your new recruits.


12:53 AM  
Blogger membrain said...

That was really very kind of you to reassure that young soldier, but I gather from what your friend posted above that is standard procedure for you. Thanks so much. Hope you have good day sometime soon.

8:34 PM  
Blogger MonicaR said...

God bless you and good luck to all of you. I and many I know are committed to standing behind you to achieve success. Thanks for helping that young man - it's the seemingly small things we do and say that end up making a big difference.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Captain Nemo said...

Hey James. Marc here.

Thanks for the messages on the blog. I'm still getting to grips with how to get and send messages etc. so bear with me!

Hope you and your new crew are doing OK. I'm not sure if I'm too late for the ski thing - I just found the message - but if not, then yes, absolutely. When I found it and saw it was yourslef plus Big Lou and Bob. Too Cool!

If it's too late, then heck,pls. put me down for next time eh for sure!

Warmest wishes as always


10:38 PM  
Blogger David M said...

"An ordinary American doing my part in an extraordinary event."

Somehow I think you are being humble for you sir are far from ordinary, at least outside of the world of the green wearing.

Come to think about it, when compared to most of us past and present greens you are quite ordinary.

Thank you for your service.

Scouts Out!

2:40 AM  

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