It’s been about eight months since I landed at North Island Naval Air Station, the final stop in my trip home from the Kuwait. Eight months is a long time. The unit that relieved us should be getting relieved themselves this month. It is now time for them to go home.
One year ago today I was setting up a communications center on KAAOT, about 13 miles off the coast of Iraq. In many ways, one of the most exciting experiences of my life. Definitely a highlight in my military career. Now that I’m home, I think about my experiences in the Gulf a lot. Almost everyday. I talk to a lot of people who have served in the gulf. They all say that they think about their time over there a lot. I have thought about going back over. Depending on how long it takes Iraq to get its feet, I might go back yet.
The experience for me was a life changing one. I think differently about my life and how I live it as a result of my time in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The changes are good one. More focus on my family. More importance placed on being involved with my family, my church and my community. Far less interest in “the rat race” and climbing the corporate ladder.
What I’ve experience is infinitesimal compared to what the guys who serve in World War II experienced but through this I begin to understand how they might view life. For them, nothing they do after World War II is ever going to be as significant. In a very real sense World War II veterans played a very active role in saving the world. Everything in life after that just isn’t quite as big.
I have no idea what the future holds for me. I have a re-enlistment coming up in June. I’ll probably sign up for another three years. The Army wants to pay me $15,000 go switch services but that would also include another trip to the sand, probably for 2006. With the business start-up I can’t afford to go serve in Iraq for another year. But for right now, I have to say….
It is still really good to be home.