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.


December 10, 2008

Name: American Soldier
Posting date: 12/10/08
Returned from: Iraq
Heading to: Afghanistan, as a private contractor

(American Soldier was one of the first contributors to The Sandbox during his 2006-7 Iraq deployment,* and we welcome the opportunity to once again post his work.)

Alas, the final Sunday before I depart. So much has happened since starting to prepare to go. It feels exactly like a military deployment but not exactly. I know that it’s not, but my wife and I have prepared as if it is. The paperwork shuffle, talking to friends and family, etc. We’ve been at it nonstop for nearly two weeks. I found myself changing out a check valve for my well yesterday and I am the furthest from being a plumber. Good thing for proper tools! I was also adding border insulation for my windows yesterday as well. My wife made a comment that I have never prepared this much before leaving. I just told her that I wanted to make sure things were squared away so she wouldn’t have to worry about it.

As I write this I look around on my desk and see the new and old comfort devices that I will be bringing with me. Music – check, movies – check, camera – check, laptop – good to go!

Today we will have some friends and family come over for a ‘see you in a few months’ party. I wanted this to be about just seeing them before I depart. Goodbye parties are too depressing anyway. I wrote about one of mine in the book The Sandbox. It’s always awkward when it’s time for people to leave. The slow walk to the door, saying those last few words and the emotional departure. I didn’t want that this time around.

So right now everything is falling into place and it’s just a matter of waiting for the departure date to come. I am feeling real good about this mission. I have missed the brotherhood and I am sure to find it while I am there. Life has been interesting since I got out of the Army last year. I had plenty of time to reflect on things and where I am in life. One of the best decisions of my life thus far was to leave the Army completely. The reason why I say that is I needed to see what my life was all about. I placed a few bad habits in the ground and became a stronger person, mentally and physically. Oh yeah, I grew some guns this past year!

I won’t go into a reflection session but things seem to have prepared me for this moment. So if that isn’t a sign then I don’t know what is.

Carpe Diem!







A Different Perspective.

Thanks for this great post. It makes me want to have a cup of chai with someone. Keep up the good work. Stay safe and have a good holiday.

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