COPING WITH HOMECOMING |
June 01, 2007
COPING WITH HOMECOMING
Posting date: 6/1/07
Returned from: Afghanistan
Milblog url: armysailor.com
This may sound silly, in fact at first it may make you think I am crazy, but the fact is that for the last few weeks I have really missed Afghanistan. I have given this a lot of thought, and I have discussed it with a few people, including some veterans, and I have realized that perhaps it is not as crazy as it may initially seem. You see I have realized that it's not Afghanistan that I miss. I don't miss the crappy living conditions, I don't miss being shot at, and I don't miss carrying a weapon everywhere. What I do miss is the camaraderie that I shared while I was there. In a mere 18 months I built the kind of friendships that usually take years or even a lifetime to forge.
Don't get me wrong. I have plenty of friends here at home, but it is different. I like the people I work with here at the NAVICP as well, but our relationships can never be as tight as those I have with people who I went to hell and back with. While I was in Afghanistan I formed bonds that crossed rank structures and services. A Lieutenant Commander was my brother. I had the privilege of being mentored by two great Master Sergeants, an amazing Senior Chief, and no less than six Chief Petty Officers. I learned how to mentor numerous Sergeants, Petty Officers, Airmen, Corporals and Privates. At the end of the day each one was family.
The support structure that you form while in a combat zone is one that can not be adequately described in words. Being separated from all of that, as quickly as I was, turned out to be difficult to handle.
This deployment was unusual because I was not deployed with my permanent unit, so when we came home we scattered to the winds. Normally you come home from a deployment and your shipmates are home with you, but now I don't get to see any of them. The Lieutenant Commander who I love like a brother is in South Carolina, I have a Master Sergeant in Utah and one in New York, my Senior Chief is in San Diego, and the Chiefs I served with are in Nevada, California, Florida, Virginia, and other locations. I know that if I ever truly need any help I can call on any of them at any time; after all, that's what brotherhood is about, but it is still a bit hard being home.
Don't get me wrong, I am so happy to be home I can't express it. I love my family and my friends. But it is very difficult to feel fulfilled in my current job as a desk jockey. It's hard to feel sympathetic when my friends complain about something from their jobs or lives, and I haven't experienced anything I would consider exciting in the least since I have been home. It's an odd feeling, and I hope that it will soon pass.
I am told this is all normal, so I would want others returning home to know what to expect, and to also know that these feelings are normal. I would also encourage those coming home from a deployment to discuss their feelings in-depth with family and friends, and other veterans. It can help your family and friends to better understand what you've gone through and what you are feeling, and it can help you regain a feeling of being normal again.