I have just downloaded a new gadget for my Windows Vista side bar. The magic eight ball continues to tell me to ‘ask again later.’ Damn.
My future is uncertain. I came down on recruiting orders from the Department of the Army. This means that I have been picked by the 'Big Army' to personally select recruits joining the force. However, I still can’t foresee myself being a salesman for the Army. What if the Army made a mistake?
What if my purpose is to lead soldiers in combat?
Every moment in my life up to this point has been a preparation for this. On R & R leave, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to be doing something. I felt the need to continuously be on the road. I drove my car around several hours a day with no purpose, aimlessly. I’d get to one place, and decide to go to another. I was still patrolling in my mind.
I’m a line dog, a grunt. I talk shit daily, sweat profusely, eat four meals a day, and patrol the streets of Baghdad. I train Soldiers, lead Soldiers, fight besides Soldiers. I give Soldiers purpose, direction, and motivation. I support Soldiers mentally, socially, and spiritually. I have taken lives, guilty and innocent. I know the feeling of loss, and I know the successes of this war. This is all I know.
The 82nd is known to be one of the most respected Army divisions. In fact, members of the 82nd strictly refer to it as “The Division.” Well, I gave my offer to the 82nd Airborne last night. They will be doing a 12 month tour in Iraq as our replacements. I have been requested to stay. I accepted. I will know within 48 hours if my zip code will still include APO-AE.
I must have patience.
Patience is a virtue that is molded by experience in… waiting. The low risen moon has been a faithful partner. The deep slow churn of the Chinook blades slicing through the winter air draws close. The sound pans to the left and to the right. It’s an unmistakable sign of change. Soon, the blare of helicopters will transition into children and wives laughing, smiling. My Soldiers will be on their way home soon.
I will not be lonely, though my arms remain empty. Every smile, every kiss, every hug that one of my Soldiers embrace – will be mine to embrace too. Whether I’m back in the states, or still out here in bat country, I know this for sure…
I’ve kept my promise.
More than thirteen months have passed during this journey. I’ll know in the next two days whether or not I’m making a new promise.