Goodbyes & Chapters

Sept 04 – Day 181
Today we mustered, quite possibly for the last time as a unit. Upon arrival San Diego the unit is heading in a number of different directions. It’s kind of sad. There was no formal ceremony bringing us into this deployment and it appears there will be no formal ceremony marking its end. Formal ceremonies are important emotional and psychological markers where we say hello and goodbye to phases in our lives. It is a shame that we will not have those markers and the things that result from them.

We are returning to San Diego in several flights. I wish the entire unit was returning on one flight so that all of our dependents would be there. It would show the magnitude of who we are. It would provide a visual impression of the sacrifice that this mission has required as we watch so many families and loved ones reunite.

Goodbye to people that we will remember for the rest of lives will be short and embarrassed. No big deal. But it is a big deal. These are the moments of our lives. This is my life. This is one of the most significant things I have ever done. This is an episode that will be a key memory for my children. This is a big deal. What we have done here is significant.

If I’m honest with myself, I’d like to come back on another deployment. Farther north next time. I’d like to be part of a supporting element actually serving in theatre. Not do discount service in the rear with the gear. It is an important job to be done. It is also tedious and repetitive with little to break up the monotony.

It is interesting to note that this will be a life changing event for many in my unit. One guy was an accountant before he came out here. I was talking to him today. He says he’s done with that. Doesn’t know yet what he is going to do but he’s through with accounting. I am looking to change some things when I go back home as well. I’ve come to the realization that I want different things out of life than where I was headed before I came out here. I have a couple of ideas.

As for my military career, I am still undecided about what I’ll do next. Part of it depends on what I decide to do with my civilian career. One path would make it very difficult to continue serving. That would be disappointing. I’d like to figure out how to work around that. If I do continue I will need to decide whether I want to find a Navy command to serve with or switch over to the Army. The Army is very attractive but does not have a very good reputation of taking good care of its reservists and their dependents. Extending deployments is the norm. I have yet to meet an Army reservist who has come out here on anything but a six month deployment. I have yet to meet an Army reservist who was not extended. Most of the Army reservist spend more than one year in theatre. Not sure I am willing to be over here that long. I have not yet talked to the Air Force.
If I am smart and plan it out, I will go talk to each service and see what they have to offer before making any decisions. We’ll see how smart I am.


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