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.

OUR TIME |

October 20, 2006

OUR TIME
Name: Army Girl
Posting date: 10/20/06
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog url:
http://desertphoenix.blogspot.com/

I have received an incredible outpouring of email from so many people in response to PLEASE, DON'T INSULT ME on The Sandbox. It truly has meant a great deal to know that there are so many people out there who care. The emails that I've received from Vets and prior service members are the ones that hit the closest to home for me. They remind me that there are those who fought so that I could be here today, and that that is why I fight, so that tomorrow others can say the same. I had taken for granted my eligibility to serve. My age, my drive. And focus. This is our time, and I'm proud to be a part of something bigger than myself. I don't always agree with the way things are handled, but at least I'm part of the process and not the problem. That's the way I see it now.

For our vets: You did your time. Now relax. It's our turn.

For those who want to serve but can't -- your letters, emails, thoughts and prayers of support keep us going. Just as there have to be soldiers out here, there have to be people back home taking care of things, living life. Otherwise, what are we really fighting for?

For those who don't want to serve -- that's OK, too. The military is not for everyone, and frankly, we don't want everyone in it. It takes a different mindset and a unique individual to do what soldiers do. Just as some office jobs are not for me, the military life is not for everyone.

It is what it is.

Our time here is dwindling and you can feel it in the air. The intensity of what we're doing is almost gone. The fight is still in everyone, but we're not as wired up as we were before. We expect bad things to happen. We're not so complacent. And we're certainly no longer so cocky. This is in fact...a war. We've lost friends and comrades, we've earned purple hearts and combat action badges, we've taken care of injured people, seen the remains of suicide bombers, administered first aid and we've spent countless hours of unending days under fluorescent lights in buildings no one should have to spend an extended time in. These kids have given so much of themselves. And for every hour an infantryman spends rucking in the field, they've spent two behind the scenes, working tirelessly to keep the wheels in motion. What we do is perhaps one of the most diverse jobs in the military.

I'm amazed by their sacrifice, awed by their commitment and dumbfounded by their tenacity. I'd serve with them all over again, anywhere. I secretly hope though, that all of them will leave the unit, and go off to better things, as this unit will be rotating back out within the year. It's neverending for them. I've been asked to stay on when we redeploy, which is a compliment beyond any that I would have expected. It says more than any award or medal. It says that I, a Reserve soldier, have proven to these guys, after all that we've been through, that I can hang. Sounds silly, but it's true. I've proved them all wrong about me. And despite all of the issues and prejudices I dealt with in the beginning, I've come through it all unscathed and the better for it.

I think it's important that these soldiers be given all the opportunities they can be given to further their careers. I can fight my own way through the maze of military challenges and successes. At the end of this deployment, I'm off to new opportunities and my next new adventure. They will still be active duty soldiers, getting manipulated by the government and this war. I can jump on another deployment of my choice, or a six month tour to almost anywhere in the world.They will have to return to their base and endure almost a year of downtime training, and then deployment preparation all over again. I feel guilty because I know I picked the right path in the Reserve component. I can live wherever I want, get a job making more money, and then deploy if I have to, or when I want to. They have to live at a base they can't stand, and deploy every other year. I have some major decisions to make in the next couple days. There are so many choices, and I'm blessed to have them. And blessed to have all my friends and family -- and of course, blessed to know that there are people out there who care about me and about the soldiers I serve, as much as I do.

I've decided. I'm going to keep the cycle going! The next time I see a service member, I'm going to give back what was so unselfishly given to me! Pay it FORWARD! 

Comments

Hello Army Girl-

I just read you in the "Sandbox". Not much I can say except that I admire your spunk and courage and hope you make it back OK. You and all the others. I'm Viet Nam aged but managed to avoid it, so some other kid (it was mostly all males then) went instead. I opposed that one and this one but I am certainly on your side and that of your comrades. Come home safe. Carl

ArmyGirl.

First, my heartfelt thanks for all that you and your brothers and sisters in arms are going -- I am and have always been opposed to this war, but that does not in the least diminish my respect and admiration for those of you who have decided that it's where your duty lies.

May God of whatever faith and name keep you safe and bring you back home soon. We need more people with your selflessness in government so perhaps in the future, war won't be an option.

I wish there was a purpose for your being there. I fear that there is not and this will be revealed only over time. Stay safe.

Dear Army Girl, you are living a very brave life experience, and I hope & wish the mission was more clear. Soon the elections will be over, and hopefully we may see some common sense added to the unreasonable sacrifices that you and your comrades are giving, in a mission that should never have been begun. Stay safe Army Girl. My military time was peacetime Navy (60-62) so I never had people shooting at me. Good luck, braveheart.

hi there
so good to see you are doing ok i was in the army when u were a verry little , and i pray for you and all the troops even on the other side ,it is ok if u do not anwser this. we live in norwood ohio and i am from ashland ky. was in the army when pr.Kendy was killed ,was in ansbach ger . GOD BLESS YOU , HAVE A GREAT DAY . TOM HERE ON TUESDAY MORN.
BYBY

You and your comrades in arms are doing one hell of a job. We need to keep the terrorists and readical elements focused on concentrating their attention on Americas strongest - our troops, rather than have them focusing their attention on our home front and civilian population.

And I'm putting my money where my mouth is, I'll be there with you at the turn of the year. Time to return after all.

I read your comments about being a soldier and what and why..The USA is the only country in the world that has never been taken over by its own army at one time..that includes England, France, Russia and the other big powers..it may have been a few hundred years ago, but it happened.

Now we have the present day US military, doing what it is told, as it always has since day that General Washington told his troops no to their request to become King and rule. This happened after the Revolution battles were over and the army was impatient with the politcians to get things organized with the consitution and the bill of rights. Washington told his men no because of all they sacrificed and fought for

But for how long will that continue if todays soldiers feel that this unspoken "contract" between the government and the army was corrupted? Whenever the government has used the troops it was for the good of ALL Americans...not for the privilaged few or for corporate powers....The British did this during the 1800's, making sure the British Eat India Company ruled over India and sold opium to the Chinese

If you and your fellow troopers ever start to believe that BUsh, Cheney and the rest used you and your fellow troopers for themselves and friends, there will be trouble

I repect your dedication, as I respect the dedication of all troppers, from today back to 1776 and Lexington and Concord and Saratoga. keep you head down, and as my uncle told me, (US ARMY AIR FORCE PHILIPINNES WW2) never volunteer!!! your CO will tell you when you are volunteering!

Dennis

All of the commenters.. Thank you for leaving your thoughts.

As for the most recent commenter who speculated on whether or not there would be trouble when my fellow troopers and me start to believe we're being used.. you underestimate some of us.

I'm not here because I fell for Bushisms.. I'm here because I believe in a free Afghanistan and because if I were not here, some other soldier with a family and children, would be.

Not all of us who serve are as the fools we serve under.

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