The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


October 10, 2006

Name: American Soldier
Posting date: 10/10/06
Returned from: Iraq
Milblog url:

This last month stateside has given me a lot of time to view things from a different perspective and evaluate some things that I might have overlooked otherwise. I made a trip to Idaho and visited my good friend Chad. I opened up a few times to Chad and told him some of the experiences I had over there. The whole trip was worth it.

The day I left something occurred that really topped it off. While in line to get my
tickets, I saw another soldier. We really stick out like sore thumbs. Anyway, I get to the Kiosk and he was right next to me. He asked me if I was coming or going. I told him I had been back for a few months now and I came back early due to being wounded. I asked him his job and he said he was a crew chief on a C5. He said he had just gotten back the night prior. In a stroller he was pushing his 8 month old baby, whom he never seen until the day before. It put a smile on my face.

Well, I kept bumping into this guy along my travels and I swore I knew him from somewhere. I just couldn't place it. The Army can seem very small, but I didn't remember him from any prior bases I was at. While on layover, I saw him and his family. I approached him and ask him about the aircraft he flew in over there. At that point I figured he might have been on the same plane I was on when I was evacuated. I described the flag in the hull and a few other things. Sure as shit that was the same plane he was the crew chief of. He tended to me while I was laid up on a stretcher. I was in and out for the duration of the flight but I remembered his face. What are the chances of that?

We parted ways and I was just happy that I had met him. I really didn't know how to respond. So I went to the terminal of my next flight. He was passing by and he came up to me pushing his baby. The words that came out of his mouth really stuck with me. "In the 16 years of my career I've always wondered about the guys that we flew out. You have made my career come full circle by meeting you." The man had tears in his eyes. He explained that he always wondered about the ones who were hurt. He knew the disposition of the ones in boxes but the ones on stretchers like me, where did they go and how did they make out?

We had some more words between two soldiers who were strangely reunited, one on a trip fresh from the war and another enduring the mental war. It was good to have that experience; it closed a few things that might have hampered a bit longer.


That is truly beautiful. I'm only 16 but my heart goes out to EVERYONE in the armed forces!!! God Bless all

What a wonderful story. Thank you!

I am moved to want to comment on every one of these posts, but instead of saying something completely inane and inadequate, I'll just say I wrote an appreciation about this blog at my own blog, and hope everyone who posts here knows people are reading, and caring.

So many times in my 24 years of service did I find something along these same lines and wondered about the people and boxes we brought back from around the world. It seemed that the "struggle" never ended from one event to the other. Car bombs, accidents, being in the wrong place at the wrong time...didn't need a "war" for those or to bring fellow troops home, in one condition or the other. I just wished we could have found out about those guys, and even some ladies, to bring some closure for ourselves and quiet some ghosts. The world might be getting smaller, but it sure gets lonely mighty quickly. My heart and wishes to those who make it back, and even more for the families of those who didn't. We might have been from different services, but we raised the same right hand, gave Uncle Sam a pint, and did the best we could. Just wished we could have completed the mission so many years ago and saved a few more. Yonder Blue!

Your letter made me weep, man. It's too easy (especially for a pacifist European like me) to think collectively of 'the troops' or something, and forget that every single one of them is an individual. Thank you.

That's kinda beautiful, after a fashion.
Choked me up a little even

Wow. Poignant and compelling. Thanks for sharing...and for serving. Take care of yourself, American Soldier...


It is so wonderful and touching that you got to connect with the crew chief. My boyfriend is a CSAR medic and I am very proud of him! I know he has watched his friends and fellow military personnel pass, but I'm sure he wonders about those they dropped off for further medical care. He has seen a lot and will have to deal with those personal battles in the future, but I'm sure you settled some of the personal battles of the crew chief by recognizing him and sharing a moment. Thank you for doing it and serving proudly, and thank you to the crew chief for all he has done. God Bless you both and keep you safe.

thats not a war story, that is a life story, thanks so much for sharing...and God bless the both of you

The only soldiers I helped train whose current status I know are those who've been killed (3). They were all fine people. It is good that you were in that place to give him whatever it is that you did give him. I don't think it was pure chance.

And thank you, this old retiree (retired eff Jan 31, 2001) deeply appreciates your service.

Thank you. I've read this before on your blog, and I am so happy that it's getting larger coverage. I thank you AND your family for your service to our country.

Beautiful. Thank you. For everything.

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