7 years, 10 months ago
Word on the local news here in Albuquerque today is that another New Mexico soldier has been killed in combat. Captain Thomas Casey, 32, was killed in Sadiyah, Iraq in the past 72-hours. Not many details have been released, however he was a member of a Military Transition Team and was one of two soldiers killed when insurgents attacked his team with small arms fire. The flag in my back yard will fly at half staff in remembrance of Captain Casey. I did not know him, but nonetheless he will be missed by all in New Mexico.
This week I had a visitor to my home. His name is Sgt. “Drew” Miller. Sgt. Miller is a member of 2/7 Cav with whom I was able to spend many a combat mission during my stay in Mosul, Iraq. I had always extended an open invitation to all the soldiers I met on my journey to visit should they find themselves passing through Albuquerque. Sgt. Miller was the first to take me up on my offer. My wife and I are glad he did, as we extended our brand of Southwestern hospitality to him. We found ourselves discussing a whole range of topics including Mosul and Iraq in general. The time seemed to go by too fast and his brief overnight stay was over before I knew it. After he left, I found myself thinking deeply about the recent past and the upcoming future. I will try to explain as best I can.
As most know, the transition period from combat deployment to “normal life back in the world” is a challenge for anyone. There are ranges of emotions and experiences that transpire no matter who has to pass through this path. It just happens. I am relieved to say that so far, those I’ve been in contact with are making the transition in good order. But we all have times that bother us and being able to go through it with other comrades is a blessing. Sgt. Miller is fine, and so are my wife and I. Yet, when we come in contact with those that have been there, we each find ourselves speaking about the things that matter and the things in our daily life that seem more on the not so important side of it all, tend to not rile us as much as they used to. In any event, what I am trying to convey is simply this….being in the company of a comrade whose been in harms way, is a reassuring experience to help us to “carry on.”
And carry on we must.
In recent events that I follow via various news sources it is apparent that the north part of Iraq is still a very hot locale and war continues. All must admit that a substantial amount of progress has been accomplished thanks to the superb efforts General David Petraeus and all those who have been under his command. Even those in the current political hooplah, vying for a position on the Presidential ticket, have to admit this obvious result. Although the “spin factor” is nearly always present in everyone’s rhetoric, no one can argue that when the military is called upon to pull the politicians out of a jam, the warriors always step up to the plate and perform the tasks at hand.
And they just carry on.
I’ve been spending much time these days going back over photos, audios and writings that I gathered in 2007 from the journey I took in Iraq. Looking back on the photos and listening to the audios and re-reading the posts that I reported, I’m understanding the events as fresh history and looking forward to what paths to take for the good of all concerned. At the same time, I find myself bombarded with the noise of the current political atmosphere called, “The 2008 Presidential Campaign” and spending a bit of time sorting out who is saying what and why. This is a monumental challenge. But in the end, I realize that it is not so important to become bogged down in the process, but more important to look forward to whatever the outcome is determined to be. I find much solace in the realization that the best thing I can do is to say, “Amen,” and carry on.
The world events of this day and age are enormous and carry a weight upon us all that cause each and everyone of us to recognize that we are indeed living in a time that is unprecedented. However I remember at times traveling through places in Iraq and having the distinct realization that I was walking over terrain that had been traversed by many before me thousands of years earlier. They too had been a part of historical battles that many of us have read about beginning in Sunday school classes as little children. Today, we are no different, we are just present in 2008. I know in the depths of my being there is a plan that is much bigger than I am. What exactly that plan is, may not be fully realized by me alone. But my experience as of late has shown me that my comrades in arms are a part of it and together what I currently see in part, may be made known in full as I take each day forward, one step at a time. Never before have I been so clear as I am at this moment to just….
Perhaps in the days and weeks ahead, more of my friends will visit. Everyone who knows me is aware that when someone knocks on my door, it shall be opened. It is not so much what I have to offer someone, rather, my experience tells me that I have received much more than I have ever been able to impart. For this one reason alone, I press on for one more journey to report among those I come in contact with for all to enjoy. It is why I am diligently seeking to return and follow the steps once again of those in harms way. They have so much to share with us all in the midst of such a complicated situation. This is the enjoyable part of “supporting the troops”. I am glad Sgt. “Drew” Miller stopped by my home. I am encouraged and strengthened to “carry on.”
In the mean time, I will continue to find things to write about and relate it to what I see as the burden at hand. The war in Iraq is still very much a day to day process. Although I am half a world away from it at the moment, I need to look no further than the flag in my back yard and realize that many thousands are still carrying on for the many millions still at home.
I look forward to all your comments and replies and will respond to each of them personally. For more information how to become a part of my next journey, feel free to contact me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me at home at: 505-898-1680.