Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yellow Ribbon Days


I served in the U.S. Army.  And as is their custom, they provide you with an all-expense-paid trip to any of the war zones they have become involved in.  Well, I joined the army in July of 2001 in order to get money to pay off $50,000 in college loans.  I was in Basic Training on September 11, 2001.  I had just unloaded a truck load of hand grenades with a soldier named Minoya.  I was hearing rumours to the effect of an airplane had crashed and over 10,000 people were dead.  I thought that was a bit of a stretch considering I was unaware of any plane that could carry that many people.  It was about 6 p.m. (New York time) when we were finally briefed on what had occured at the Twin Towers.  Naturally, I was horrified.  I remembered being amazed at the the sky scraping buildings as a small child visiting the Big Apple with family.  My first memories of the buildings was nearly 30 years ago when I first became a NY Giants fan.  What a heart-dropping thought of so many innocent people losing their lives over nothing less than unjustified hatred.  So one event lead to another.  Soon we were in Afghanistan.  Then Saddam was accused of having "WMD's" or Weapons of Mass Destructrion.  My brother got to spend the first year in Iraq from the end of 2002 to the end of 2003.  Then I got to follow in March of 2004.  I was serving with the 27th Main Support Battalion out of Fort Hood, Texas.  But they were restructuring the army to make Brigades deployable without the rest of the division.  So a new unit was formed just to support the 5th Brigade Combat Team (5th BCT).  I was sent to be a part of 515th Forward Support Battalion (FSB).  We deployed with the 1st Cavalry Division.  I was fortunate enough to get chosen to be part of SPO or Support Operations.  So I got an office job with air conditioning in 140 degree heat.  My job was to track parts being shipped from the U.S. and Germany and other countries for repairing our vehicles and other equipment.  As you can see in the pic, I have a head light for an M998 HMMWV Hummer on my desk.  That was my vehicle that I drove a Captain from Kuwait to Baghdad in.  It was the absolute worst year of my life.  It was the first Christmas that I spent away from my family.  Even when I lived in Texas, I traveled to North Carolina for Christmas with my family.  My work day started about 8 a.m. and I was often still at work at 10, 11, or sometimes even past midnight.  It wasn't always because of work.  Oddly enough, I was not afraid of dying or getting killed.  My biggest fears were having to kill someone else or having to die alone.  Several times a week, and at times even daily, we would get attacked with mortars, RPG's or rockets.  But I must say that God was looking out for me.  I spent an entire year over there.  But I got to come home safely to my family and the ones I care about.  And that is my prayer for those still in Iraq and Afghanistan today.  That God will bring them home safely to their families.  SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!!


6 comments:

Tracey said...

What a lovely post, very moving. I definitely support all the brave troops past & present. XXX

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

Is the US army more supportive of gay servicemen and women nowadays?
I have a friend in the Territorial army here and she says no in the uk/.....

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

ps I remember walking on the plaza of the world trade centre on silent sunday morning....there was not a soul around........and the buildings were shrouded in mist...very very spooky and awe inspiring

Odette said...

the scene where people are jumping off the building in an act of desperation still haunts me to this day...
what a touching post.
xoxoxoxo

Amy said...

moving post. we support all troops...to brave for words. xxx

Tracey said...

Thank you for your 'lovely' comment just now! Cheeky bugger! LOL XXX