'Sup? Of Snow and Purple Hearts
As for Our Guys? Well, they had a few weeks back at Fort Benning just decompressing and enjoying all that Hooters and America has to offer. They did a lot of sleeping (#1 thing they tell me!), some drinking, more eating (pork chops, ribs, ham...), going to movies (for the first few times they weren't all that comfortable sitting deep in the theater and wanted to be near the doors!), buying vehicles, buying electronics and generally spending their hard-earned money. I am certain the merchants of Columbus, Georgia are ecstatic to have the 3ID home! They also attended mandatory sessions on re-integrating to life in a first world country and how to recognize post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Then they all got the month of February off to do NOTHING but relax and shake off the hellacious year of their deployment. They traveled to be with their families and friends. They slept late, ate some more, drank some more and enjoyed Freedom. They're all back on base now. Some of Noah's unit have new orders and are preparing to PCS (permanent change [of duty] station). So far, Our Guys are all staying put in the infantry unit. Noah's friend Dave who was wounded with Noah has gotten recruiting duty and judging by the response, he didn't put in for it, so he and his wife will be moving soon. Their new location is in a university town in the country's heartland, so it shouldn't be too bad, he says. Noah's up for a few special schools, but I don't want to jinx it until he hears for sure.
I have been following the post-deployment stories of the wives, mothers and girlfriends on a private 3ID website and it seems the number one topic of discussion almost across the board is dealing with some very short-tempered soldiers. We've been told that restlessness, impulsiveness and anger are normal reactions to re-integration and judging by the number of comments about it, the 3ID guys have it in spades. I had a hard enough time dealing with the short-tempered thing with Noah since he's been home -- and that was just on the phone. I'm particularly glad he wasn't living here then. Frankly, I think any of those soldiers that have those big anger problems ought to live on base and let the Army and other soldiers deal with it. The wives, girlfriends and mothers don't deserve to be overwhelmed with it. And there aren't a whole lot of these guys stepping up and saying they need a little help.and anger is only one part of all this -- there's compulsive behaviors, nightmares, depression... major anxiety... Somehow there is little consolation knowing that my son's not the only one.
The next topic getting lots of attention is the two upcoming Homecoming Ceremonies: one at Fort Benning and one at Fort Stewart. The Fort Benning celebration is March 24 at York Field, from 2 p.m. until dark and includes an appearance by Diamond Rio. I would love to be there to hear them sing (Here in America) "In God We Still Trust" (click to listen).
There will be loads of things for the kids like a petting zoo, those inflatable jumping areas, a carnival and pony rides. Local car dealers have donated a truck and a car to be given away. Of course, food and drink will be in excess.
The Fort Stewart Welcome home is from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. at Donovan Field on March 25 and includes a performance by Jeff Foxworthy and Chely Wright.
Rumor has it that a BIG name country singer that has been featured on my sight in a post or two might make an appearance, but I can't seem to get anyone to even unofficially confirm it. It would make sense to me since he is currently on tour in that area, this performer traveled to Baghdad to entertain the 3ID (part of the performance was broadcast during a music awards show) and I can't imagine how he'd want to miss the big welcome home party for these AMERICAN SOLDIERS. I know the 3ID soldiers and families would be overwhelmed.
I'm not currently planning to attend either of these celebrations although I would dearly love to see all Our Guys, as well as Noah since I haven't seen him since last September when he got back from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and his 21st birthday is just beyond that weekend. I'd also really love to meet some of the 3ID wives and parents I've been corresponding with this past year. I'd especially love to meet the widow and children of the first soldier from the battalion killed in Iraq with whom I have corresponded and of whom I've become extremely fond.
We had planned to go because we assumed that we would get to see Noah receive his Purple Heart and Our Guys receive other medals and awards that they had earned while they fought terrorists in Iraq. However, we have been told that the medal ceremony will not be at the same time as the celebration. In fact, no medal ceremony has yet been scheduled. If it has, they haven't told the soldiers.
It would make sense to have the ceremony and celebration at the same time, but our budget can't handle two trips to Georgia (the only down side to retirement is the "fixed income"), the trip to the Milbloggers Conference in April and our oldest son's wedding this summer. If I have to pick a trip to visit or a trip to see our son and Our Guys officially receive their medals, it will have to be for the medals. But all I can say is that since many units had their medal ceremonies before their units went on block leave, and it has now been 8 weeks since these soldiers returned home and no medal ceremony has yet been held, this unit better get its act together soon. This is NOT the way to honor our soldiers and it's really starting to annoy the hell out of me. Having a mail clerk hand a brown paper box to a soldier and say, "Oh, this got misplaced," and opening it to find your Purple Heart just doesn't cut it for me. I am desperately proud of our son and these soldiers and I know everyone else is, as well. They deserve a medal ceremony with someone important pinning those medals and lots of people clapping and cheering and they deserve for it to be well publicized with plenty of notice so that family and friends can attend. Grrrr.
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