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 02, 2007

Name: 1SG Troy Steward
Posting date: 10/2/07
Returned from: Afghanistan
Milblog url:

One common feeling that most soldiers possess after being in war is that of, "Hey, I am here so hopefully my son doesn’t have to be." War is an ugly thing and, as I have said before to many people and stated on my blog, “The people that hate war the most are those that have had to be in it." In fact they are probably the only ones qualified to have a valid opinion on it, or at least that is my opinion.

So back to the topic of this post, which is that once someone goes to war, they hope and pray that it is the last one, and that nobody they know will ever have to experience the ugliness and horrors that war produces. Like I said, I will go so my son does not have to….

Well, when the orders came down for the deployment that I went on, part of the decision for me to go was that I knew my brigade in NY was on tap to deploy in 2008, and since my son is in my unit I did not want to have both he and I gone at the same time. That would probably be almost too much for a family to take. I know it would have been very hard on my other boys to have their daddy and brother gone at the same time. So I went to war and did my time, and during that time the possibility turned into a reality. I have not been able to talk about this to too many people outside of the family because DOD had not officially announced the impending deployment of the 27th Brigade Combat Team until recently.

So as I was coming out of war, I was fully aware that my own son would be coming into the place that I could not wait to leave -- and fully aware of the dangers, the stresses, and even the good times he will face. A blessing of me going early is that I can school him on what to expect, and help pave the way for him a little by personally educating him on everything I can about Afghanistan, the place, the people, the enemy and the way of soldier life there.

Needless to say, since my return home and throughout this summer we have been trying to enjoy quality time welcoming me home, and quality time with my oldest son before he leaves. I try to take some one-on-one time with my two youngest, and he does too. And he and I have enjoyed some great bonding time. For example, just the two of us have gone out on my boat and cruised around for a couple of hours enjoying the boat, the water and each other’s company.

Soon I will find myself back on this side of the tracks, wishing someone I care about the best, praying for his safety and sending him letters and packages. I will be sure to turn him on to the support groups available to him, like and, along with sending him the things I know he will need and use over there. Until that day comes, which I don’t look forward to, I will just enjoy our time together as an entire family.


I can't image what is more difficult; knowing what lies ahead for your loved one or not? Godspeed to both of you.

Glad to see you are home. I have thought about this since we discussed it briefly at Camp Phoenix before we left country. I cannot say I would be calm about my child going to war. I know you have raised him the right way and he will be in my prayers as well. Drop me a line if there is anything I can do for him during his deployment.
Capt Templeton

Shalom 1SG Steward,

This is ever our wish, isn't it?

I'm the fifth generation in my family -- Gulf War I: Iran, Korea, The Great War, Spanish American and the Civil War -- who put on the uniform.

I have no children, but I have three nephews and three nieces who are, or who soon will be, of age. That one or more of them will continue the tradition, I have no doubt.

And the tradition of wishing to be the last will carry on.


SSG Jeff Hess

I like the way you think about the future of your son. That's great you rather be in the war now, then having your son fight this war later on

good luck to you and your son. I hope all goes well with his deployment and will be home with you soon

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