I’m on the airplane, flying back to Fort Dix. Leave is over. It will be approximately a year before I see my family again. It is likely to be an exciting year, at least for me. I expect that my son will change dramatically over the next year. He’s in that time of transition from little boy to man. I’ll miss a holiday season but another group of soldiers will be home for the holidays as a result of our going.
I will see two elections. Provincial elections will be held soon. National elections are scheduled to happen some time next year. Efforts to capitalize on the opportunity presented by the improved security that the surge afforded continue. Pushing the local, provincial and national governments to assume their role in leading and providing for the nation will be a core component of our mission. I hope that we are able to get beyond the rebuilding of basic infrastructure and begin to see the building some of the higher level structures that promote economic growth and a maturation of the social and cultural environment. Small businesses, social venues, parks and sporting events. As the security improves and citizens feel safe to walk the streets they are able to move from simply surviving to enjoying life and even celebrating life. I’d like to see a large wedding. I’d like to see a concert. I wonder what their parties will be like? I would like to see the community or communities I work with move from a characterization of fear to one of life in all its facets.
A significant part of the motivation and enjoyment of serving in the military is being part of something bigger than me. I am going to participate in the building of a nation. One nation was torn down and now a new nation is being built. We don’t spend enough time understanding that. My family participates in something bigger than them through me. The challenge before me is to share the experience with my family so that they feel they too are a part of what I am doing and catch the excitement. Much like those whose parents and grandparents served in World War II feel a connection to that great effort. Especially those who can remember their loved ones going off to war and coming home.
So, tomorrow morning I’ll wake up in the barracks. I expect tonight will be loud and disrupted with soldiers coming in drunk and loud. Tomorrow we will begin the next phase of deployment. These are the worst parts of deploying. Life is better once you’ve arrived in your AO and you can focus on mission and day to day operations. We’ll be there soon. Let the day count begin.