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.

TO GO OR NOT |

April 23, 2009

TO GO OR NOT
Name: Army Girl
Posting date: 4/24/09
Returned from: Afghanistan
Milblog: Army Girl

I've been letting people know that I plan on deploying. I notified my unit that I am giving up my WOC slot in order to do so. 

My sister probably expected it.  She just asked, "What about WOC?" and I told her I didn't join the Army to be a Warrant Officer. That's about as simple as I can get with the answer. 

Then I let my buddy know... and he didn't take it so well. The conversation ended with him telling me he wasn't going to my funeral and my telling him he wasn't invited.

He's been going through a lot lately and everything seems to be coming back up. It was at this time three years ago that we were down in Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province -- our Alive Day. The anxiety, the stress, the invasive thoughts; I've learned to live with it. I know what to expect now around about this time of year and I am okay with it. It's just the way it is.

I don't think he's gotten through to that point yet. I think he had much worse TBI than I did. Neither of us was ever diagnosed or screened, but I know, like I know what it is to have strep throat, that he's got a form of TBI as well as PTSD. I didn't come through that blast unscathed, but I know that I'm good to go for at least one more deployment.

I didn't think about how my decision to deploy would affect him. That's kind of something that you try not to think about -- how it affects those around you. But how long do you put it off for?  How long do you make everyone else's demands, wishes, pleas, your own?  At some point you have to do what you want to do. And I want to deploy. This is what is right for me in my mind and in my heart and it has nothing to do with what anyone wants for me anymore.

In this particular case, it is a one for one switch. My unit needs E6's to go. Our soldiers need someone with experience. I've not only been to the theater, but I understand so much more now and can offer a great deal to the cause, the fight and to the mission. I have a unique skill set and experience -- and understanding of the conflict. We are sending guys who will not have been home for 12 months before being activated again. Guys that have families, newborns...

And you know what?

It doesn't matter. I'm trying to justify why I decided to go back, but I don't need to. I know that right now, it's just time.  I've never been one to wait or put things off till I get told or called up.  I volunteered for my last deployment because it was right. I just knew.  And I feel that way now.  I'll go on my terms when I can make arrangements. If I wait, I'll get yanked out of my comfort zone and it'll come at an untimely moment when I won't be expecting it or prepared for it. This is a much better deal.

And this time, I'll know some of the people I'm going with. I'll know the General I'm going to be working under. He'll be at the flagpole and I'll be out and about somewhere, but at least I'll know that the man I'm serving under has a vested interest in the fight. He's got kids that are fighting age. And I've looked him in the eyes and know that he sincerely wants to ask the right questions and find potential solutions to establish systems that work so that we can stop the killing and the dying and bring our troops home. 

Afghanistan will be a country at peace someday and if I can't help that happen, I can at least strive to understand more why it can't. 


Editor's note: Army Girl was one of the first contributor's to the Sandbox, in the fall of 2006, and it's good to have her back. Here are several of her earlier posts:

WHY I'M IN , 12-20-06

COMBAT , 11-13-06


Comments

Army Girl,
I truley understand your reasoning and support you 100%. If there is anything you need while there, all you need to do is call. I will not be deployed this time as I have moved to another command but my heart will always be with the mission you are doing. Your friends and family will come around eventually, for them it is for the most part an unknown. Keep writing and bringing them knowledge and they will be better prepared. Be safe and I look forward to hearing from you during this deployment.
Capt T. AKA: Ratman

Thank you, Army Girl, both for volunteering and for the post. You all never cease to amaze me. Be safe and please keep writing.

Army Girl:

Take care and thanks for your service. The Army depends on dedicated NCOs like you.

everyone knows a "woc" is something you fwow at a wabbit... %-)

deploy, take care of your troops and go to school when you get back. the Army needs good Warrants as least as much as it needs good NCO's.

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