It has been 4 weeks since I left home to return here. I feel like I reach a small victory at the end of each day, tucking it neatly into the past & slowly racking up enough days to call it a week. With the coming of the Spring, the Taliban has returned to these parts but the ongoing conflict is still a low level war.
The war seems almost surreal sometimes. I wake up in the morning in a comfortable bed, take a (usually) hot shower, put on my body armor, pick up my rifle and head to work. We drive enormous armored vehicles to our destination, looking out of small bullet-proof windows at strange unfamiliar scenes of life. It has something of a strange safari feel to it. Upon arrival, we conduct our meeting or assessment or whatever we’re doing, all the while looking like astronauts lumbering around in space suits with our 50 lbs of gear. When we return to base, it’s back to sitting in an office at a computer, sipping a hot cup of coffee, or eating French cuisine, and living normal life.
The only reminder we have that we might be at war are periodic make-you-spill-your-coffee explosions of artillery guns firing, or far-off sounds of machine gun fire. Even when sirens start going off for incoming rounds, if people go to the bomb shelters at all, they might bring a book along or their mug of coffee. There’s no point in running around since a rocket or mortar has just as much chance of hitting you over there as it does over here.
In other news, I found out recently that the Army approved my request to return to active duty. So, a few weeks after this deployment, we’ll be heading to Fort Hood, TX. Mary drove down there a week or so ago to go house hunting. She found one that we both liked and we made a bid on it, but it remains to be seen if it will all come together for us. In any case, Mary said that the area was nice. It is sad to think about leaving Wichita for now, although I haven’t been in Wichita much for the past 2 years, but it is a huge relief for me to not have to worry about searching for a job again when this deployment is finished.
It seems like my time with the military has been one continuous lesson of learning to deal with change. This move to Texas will be the 7th time I’ve moved to a different state since I joined the military 15 years ago. 2 of those years were spent deployed overseas. I’ve gotten so used to change that I break out in a cold sweat at the thought of staying in one place for the rest of my life. Still, my favorite place will always be “home” wherever that may be.