Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day

By a fluke of the calendar, my first Veteran's Day out of the combat zone fell on a Sunday. So, yesterday during our worship services we honored our vets by projecting the pictures from their years of service during our anthem and had them stand as their service song was sung. Many of our vets wore part or all of their uniforms, and I wore my "blues" instead of the traditional robe.
Veteran's Day this year was different for me. Maybe, for the first time, I felt like a true vet - one who had served in a combat zone. Perhaps for the first time I felt truly like a "Soldier" and not "just" a Reservist. For whatever reason, yesterday was a special day.
In the afternoon I had the opportunity to speak to a group of vets, primarily WW II vets, in Roswell. It's good to still see the inter service rivalry and esprit de corps after so many years away from the service. Our WWII vets are truly a national treasure, and the greatest generation. These are the folks who spent years away from home, had V-mail instead of email, and did not have 15 days mid-tour leave. Unfortunately, we are losing them at a rate of about 1,000 per day. I was also surprised to learn that we still have about 250 WWI vets still living.
I think that when I breathe my last and my eyes close in eternal sleep, I'll look back on my life and one of the things I will be proudest of will be my service over the past year. It was truly an honor to serve with the men and women I was with in Iraq - they are some of the finest people I have ever met.
Happy Veteran's Day.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Then and Now

This is a picture taken this past summer in Balad, Iraq at the Sherpadome, home of the C-23's we used to fly down to Tallil in when not in rotary wing aircraft. I'm on the left, with CPT Josh McConkey in the center and MAJ Joe Kelly on the right. These are two of the finest men, and greatest medical officers in the U.S. Army.

This is what we looked like this past weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado!
All Soldiers, and their spouses, are given the opportunity to attend a Reunion & Reintegration Weekend after deployment. I led 30 of these retreats in the Southeast for the 81st Regional Readiness Command before being deployed to Iraq. We learn how to better communicate, deal with conflict, and reintroduce fun, friendship, sensuality, and spirituality into our relationships. It was great to get reconnected with Joe and osh, along with so many other Soldiers that I served with in Iraq. It was great to meet the spouses of these Soldiers as well.
And 30-50 degree weather beats 110-120 degrees any day!