color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: February 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

We Need a Little Christmas: Please Help!!!

How about some more Christmas? I know of a place that needs a little Christmas... now.

Well, if you watch the news, you know we have guys deployed. 3ID is deployed and deploying... Some of our guys are already in Ramadi. When one of the wives asked her husband what could she send him... what did HE need? His response was that he needed nothing for himself, but he could use all the children's clothing and shoes he could get... he was distraught at the level of poverty these children experience.

So here's my challenge:

Please get out one (or two... or three) of your US Postal Services Flat Rate boxes... take it to your local Kmart or WalMart or Target or wherever... and buy as much children's clothing and shoes and socks (a small toy, too) as you can fit in that box (boxes!) You can also send gently used clothing and shoes -- any size... send it all!

So I told this wonderful and caring wife to tell that wonderful and caring soldier that I'd be delighted to do what I could... and I am asking all of you to do what you can. Support our troops and their mission... and their big old hearts...

Mail your box (don't forget that dang customs form!!) to:

Sgt. Dinkins, Charles
TF 5/7 CAV A Co 3/69AR
1st PLT C Co 2/7IN
APO AE 09346

Please email this info to all your friends & family... ask your church or civic group to help... and feel free to post it up on blogs and forums. "Our Guys" are asking for some help... let's be sure they can feel our love!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Those who left the battlefield but brought the battle home

When Noah deployed for his first tour in Iraq, there was no describing the worry. It was intense. It was consuming. It permeated every minute of every day. Like our skin or our heartbeats, it was with us and around us and in us no matter what we did or where we were.

When he was wounded, the worry was like a crushing weight on us. Even when we knew his injuries would not be fatal, the worry of what the future held for Noah was a new kind of worry, but one we told ourselves that we would gladly bear.

After Noah was well on his way to physical recovery, it was apparent to us that the person we had raised and known -- the bright, witty upbeat spirit with that generally cheery personality and always optimistic outlook -- was not the person that returned from Iraq. Of course, we know that if war did not affect a person, they wouldn't be human; but as my girlfriend S. might say, "if it wasn't the same face and the same name, I'd swear on a stack of Bibles that this isn't my son."

Noah was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder shortly after he was wounded; at the time, however, the treatment of his physical wounds took precedence. And the deaths of so many in his unit while he recovered -- especially the deaths of five of his squad in a single attack -- seemed to numb him for a while. We recognized the short temper and his quick anger as signs of PTSD... and he admitted that sleep was hard to come by and interrupted by thrashing and nightmares when it did come. We encouraged him to seek treatment... and we worried.

Noah recognized that he was "messed up" (his words) and figured he needed help for the PTSD and shared that with his [now former] NCO, Sgt. M -- who would always dismiss his concerns with, "Suck it up and drive through it... everybody has PTSD." So Noah sucked it up and drove on... thinking that time would make it better and that he could handle it on his own. That's what most 19 and 20 and 40 year old soldiers tell themselves. Many of his buddies were doing the same: sucking it up and driving on.

It went on for many months until Noah could take no more of the escalating "dark thoughts", nightmares, depression and crushing panic and anxiety that ruled his existence and he sought counseling. After some pretty harrowing episodes which left us (his parents) distraught and shaken, he was admitted for inpatient care. After a number of serious setbacks and the doc trying more drug combinations than we thought possible, he was discharged after 8 weeks. He refused the opportunity to seek a medical discharge and returned to duty.

Noah has continued treatment but the medications have not been totally successful in controlling his PTSD and he is still beset by this illness. Contrary to the WaPo's assertions of "combat-addled" or the "drugged up" profile they'd have you believe (and yes, there are some), for the many soldiers we have become acquainted with being treated for their PTSD, the medications allow them to exist with some normalcy in their lives while they heal. And since there is no single drug or treatement for the complex array of the human brain's responses to trauma as significant and repetitive as WAR, a combination of drugs is used to treat the menu of symptoms that may present in each individual: nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, depression. If those writers had done even a small amount of research, they'd have known that those drugs help soldiers survive. It is a daily battle and we follow Noah's closely. Because of the instransigence of Noah's PTSD, late last week Noah's doctors profiled him as "no go" and he will not deploy to Iraq with his unit next month.

And he may not be able to stay in the Army. Noah was initially upset about it; he understands the "no deploy" profile (he admits that he is no shape to go despite his best efforts), but he has wanted to be a soldier for most of his 21 years and the idea of leaving the Army has been very hard for him to accept. And he adds to that his desire to continue with the "joes" he has trained so hard with and helped train in preparation for this deployment.

It's an odd position for us to be in: we hurt for him because his disappointment is so heavy at the moment, but at the same time, as a mom, I cannot say that I am sorry that he is not going back to Iraq.

We are so proud of Noah for what he has accomplished and what he has survived -- and even prouder because of his desire to carry on even with the PTSD... and in light of his first "experience" in Iraq... and this battle which he has fought exhaustingly for more than a year... one we have no doubt in which he will prevail. We and his entire family will be with him every step of the way.

And, yes, we still believe in our troops AND their mission. We have one son "home" but we still have 150,000 sons and daughters still deployed (including a bunch of Our Guys).

Remember those who have left the battlefield but now fight the battle at home.

Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2007. All rights reserved.

* We have become somewhat conversant in the Army's "system" regarding the treatment and the attitudes reagrding PTSD. There will be a much longer and more detailed post on this topic in the future...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

So You Voted? So What??

Working on a longer post to bring the blog up current... but today it is magnificent weather here in the desert southwest and we're off to hike God's magnificent gift to us...

In the meantime, here is my message and my vent to the members of the US House of Representatives that voted in favor of the non-binding resolution not to support the "surge":

I don't give a damn what little weaselly words about "supporting our troops" you included in your resolution. I don't care about all your self-serving statements about what your friggin' "intent" was. You can say what you want to the media -- we KNOW what the effect is just as you knew when you voted: You slapped our Soldiers and Marines, our Sailors and Airmen... you undercut their authority on the battlefield... you have not helped them complete their mission but you have hampered them in their abilities to do so... you have put their lives at greater risk because you have told our enemy that they can and should.

You have told our men and women fighting that they can not do the job... that you have no faith in them... that you will not support them under any circumstances...

You have told them that no matter how well they have performed, how many schools they have rebuilt, how many hospitals and clinics they have refurbished... no matter how many innocent Iraqi lives they have saved from the brutality of Saddam's regime... no matter how many people have been liberated from oppression and despotism and might now live in democracy and freedom... you have told them that you do not, cannot and will not support them. You have told them that they and their mission are unimportant... that your politics are more important than they are and the job they do.

Most importantly, you -- you Pelosi, Murtha, Reid, et al. -- YOU have told those that seek to kill OUR troops -- kill OUR children -- that it is OK to do so because you have told them publicly and emphatically that the more deaths and injuries they cause to our troops, the more likely it is that we will cut and run... YOU will cut and run if you have your way.

So you voted. So what? It's meaningless to everyone BUT OUR ENEMIES. Were you trying to prove you don't like Bush? You didn't need this vote to tell us that. What exactly were you trying to prove that you couldn't have done in a letter to the President? You stood and voted to make yourselves feel important. And in doing so you made our troops and their safety and their mission unimportant.

And to boot, you have lied and misled the American public into thinking that the 21,500 troops are somehow "extra" troops -- that the President somehow added these troops... WE all know that these troops would be there regardless of your resolution and regardless of whether the media or the Democrats or the "I have no backbone or stomach for this" call it a surge. THESE TROOPS WERE GOING TO IRAQ ANYWAY.

If you all are sittin' around scratchin' yerselves trying to figure out what your job is, I have news for you: passing non-binding resolutions ain't it. As an American voter who has voted in every election for which I have been eligible for almost four decades, let me tell you that your job is not opposing the President. Your job -- the reason you are in the United States Congress, why some get to fly on military jets, why you collect handsome salaries and accrue exceptional pensions and have outrageously good healthcare benefits... Your job, ladies and gentlemen (and I use the terms loosely) is to act in the interests of all Americans... to protect us against all enemies foreign and domestic... to DO what is right and just... especially when we are at war -- note to Congress: WE ARE AT WAR. Your job is to support our troops AND THEIR MISSION in both WORD AND DEED... and if you can't do that, then get the hell out of Congress. Yesterday you failed in your jobs. You Miserably failed.

All I can say is thank God none of you is President and Commander-in-Chief. Thank God. And you have convinced this independent voter that it will be my life's mission for the next two years to be sure that "your" candidate is NEVER President and NEVER this Nation's Commander-in-Chief... because if nothing else, you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that your candidate will never be trustworthy... can never be trusted to do what is best for America and her safety... you will NEVER be able to lead our Country's dedicated and selfless military when it is important to my country's safety. And you can never be counted on to do what is necessary to be sure that our military has the money, equipment and the support TO WIN once you send them into battle. And you DID send them into battle. You sent them to win... but now you're too chickensh*t to follow through.

You can be against the war and you can be appalled and saddened and grief-stricken by the wounded and the dead. God knows I am. But this resolution is not the way you show it.

So you passed this mealy-mouthed resolution... hiking up yer important pants today, are you? High-fivin' and hangin' yer privates all important-like? Well let me tell you from this military Mom, I think all of you that voted for this "ain't got the guts to put my money where my mouth is" little resolution are dogdung on the bottom of my boot and need to be scraped into the sewer. You should be ASHAMED of yourselves. And if you're not ashamed of yourselves, I certainly am ashamed of all of you.

Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2007. All rights reserved.

PS Come back some other day and I might just let you know how I really feel.

Welcome to those arriving via Jules Crittenden, AubreyJ or The Radio Patriots (from Constitutional Public Radio).

I've had people tell me that since I went to the "new" blogger, my screens were hard to read, so I changed the template in the hopes of it being easier on the eyes. Unfortunately when I did that, I lost all my modifications, links and codes... despite saving them... aaarrggghhh.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

I really have been trying to get here to blog... so much to comment and lament on... what constitutes name calling... the whole Pelosi plane thing... Obama's announcement... Hilary's disgraceful conduct... Noah (the reason for this blog... Welcome Home from NTC, son!) Many things... but it's tax season and I graciously (foolishly) agreed to prepare family members' taxes (and of course these are the young ones who actually get money back from Uncle Sam so they want it all done early...) and I am helping out a friend of a friend at her CPA firm for tax season (just a few days a week... but NOW I remember why I retired!)
Anyway, I will try to get back to the blog some time this week... but I wanted to share my happiness. This from the Major League Baseball website:

With the northernmost part of the country buried in snow or chilled to the bone, the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals welcome their pitchers and catchers to a new season on Tuesday in Tampa and Viera, Fla., respectively, and then work out on Thursday.

The last team standing at the end of the 2006 season is among the seven teams reporting on Wednesday. The World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, led by ace right-hander Chris Carpenter, begin defense of their title in Jupiter, Fla.

Meanwhile, the Florida-based Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies also report on Wednesday, while the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants get the jump on the 12 Arizona-based teams with Thursday workouts.

God's affirmation to me that life is good... life goes on. I don't have a crystal ball, but I see Spring Training baseball games in my future!


Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2007. All rights reserved.