Then came several months of training, including specialized programs near both coasts. He learned such skills as desert survival, driving a Humvee into and out of a trench, and allowing for wind speed and type of gunpowder when aiming a Paladin self-propelled Howitzer.
How’s that for a resume builder?
Meanwhile he was also obeying orders when he enjoyed them and when he didn’t, taking responsibility for his actions, and generally growing into the kind of officer that our military wants and needs. After Field Artillery school, he and Heather were stationed at Ft. Hood, right here in Texas. They moved into a nice apartment in Killeen.By mid-July, six months later, Eric was in Iraq, earning everyone’s respect by his cordial and helpful attitude. His unit’s deployment was to be for “no more than 365 days.” No one knew what they would do after all US troops were to be out of Iraq; naturally, we at home hoped the deployment would simply be cut short.
For a while it sounded as if that might be the case, but in November we got word that Eric would be one of about 4,000 soldiers who would remain in Kuwait. Disappointment, quickly followed by adjustment. Head up, shoulders squared.
Eric is still following orders, still doing his job and encouraging his men as they do the same. I asked him about these things during his recent R&R leave. Despite the sacrifice of being away from his wife for so long, he likes Army life. He bears the responsibility of leadership with honor and with tremendous class. And he doesn’t want any sympathy or special recognition. It is, he says, what he signed up for. Really, all he asks of us in the States is to just know that his soldiers are still overseas.
So here is my two cents: When you hear people mention that the U.S. war in Iraq is over, please remember that “out of Iraq” does not necessarily mean “home.”
Thanks for reading,
PS: You are welcome to “Share” on Facebook at the bottom of this post if you are so inclined.
Also, I am linking up with Rachel Anne and our Company Girls friends, as well as with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria girls.