Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Update from Portland 24 July 2007

I arrived home at about 2345 (That is 11:45 PM) on 17 June, Fathers Day. I was greeted by most of my family in the state, and Mike Francis of the Oregonian was there to greet me as well. We all were tired from being keyed up and not having a place to relax all day, so the day is somewhat of a blur, but I do remember my wife coming out to greet me, still in here warm up suit as that did not cause her discomfort from her operation. I got home with most of the people at the armory, and had the Full Sail Ale that Mike provided to me when I stepped off the bus (Thanks Mike…).

There was a group that lined the road, all off their Harleys with American Flags standing at attention as we drove by, there must have been at least one hundred of them if not more. I was touched by their patriotism.

For the first couple of weeks I reconnected with some people I had not seen, family and neighbors and friends. That was a slow process, people want to give you your space, and they want to see you as well. Let me just say, I have the best neighbors I have ever had, and I cannot really imagine my neighborhood with nicer people. I could wax on about this, but it sounds a little too good when you write it down. One of our neighbors put it this way to me, I get six months credit for being gone, but after that no excuses, this of course is the same lady who told me that “Yeah you went to Afghanistan for a year and risked your life, but your wife gave her kidney up, and she is the real hero”. I have to say that Michele (ONE L) is right; my wife is some kind of wonderful. My wife and I enjoyed time off together, she was recovering from her donation, and I was spending time with her. That really is all that was important those first weeks.

I thought initially that I would end up working with the Oregon National Guard in a full time basis, but that did not work out, and I have been exploring various opportunities for about 3 weeks now. Change in life is good, and I believe that good things will come out of my new focus and direction. For those that do not know; I have about 10 years now active time in the Military and another 12 years as a Guardsman or Reservist. I don’t believe that I will be making the Military a larger part of my life again, and in fact I hope to reduce its impact upon my family to negligible in the next couple of years. That said some of the most rewarding moments in my life have been as a member of our Military.

Of interesting note is that many American born citizens I have talked with still do not differentiate between Afghanistan and Iraq. My short answer about Afghanistan is that we need to station an army division there, and plan to stabilize the region for the next 60 years. Look at Korea as a template for that. The Afghan people that I have met have been very hospitable, and very Muslim. I would never say that Muslims mean harm to Americans or any other population. I would say that they have a radical, criminal element in the area that practices a fanatical type of the Muslim religion; they have guns and are not afraid to use them. American citizens who are from the Middle East are of varying positions on the conflicts, but remember that they have families there, and they are here in the United States, so they value freedom, and they value their families safety as well. Some of the most emotional and grateful people I have met for service are people who originate from the Persian area.

A short list of events that have transpired since my return:

  • My wife has returned to work, she is very well and her recipient is doing very well.
  • One of my fellow soldiers from Shindand was killed in action, a very sad event, he will always be remembered.
  • A friend of mine that I have had forever has essentially chosen to terminate our friendship.
  • I met Mike Francis, who treated me to a dinner and beer, and listened to me ramble for a couple of hours. That was a pleasure.
  • I have gotten a couple hours in fishing with my Dad and Father in Law, always a good way to spend time.
  • My son talked me into helping him finance a new (Used) Car; I am keeping his old one, as it was in great condition to begin with.
  • I am about 2/3rds of the way towards starting my own business or getting a good job in my industry, which makes me happy.

In short, overall, life is great, I am home, my family is safe, and the future looks bright.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Not Quite a month home updates

Well it has been a month almost since I stepped off the plane.
I was met by my family, most of them anyway, and I met Mike from the paper briefly.
My wife was in the process of recovering from donating a Kidney, and in my book that trumps being gone for a year. She is doing well, and things are going great for the recipient as well.
I spent about a week just spending time with my wife, and then got some bad news.

One of my teammates from Shindand had been KIA. He was a great guy, and it is truly a sad thing for all that knew him especially his family.

There are a list of honey do's that need to be taken care of here, but I am working on them. My daughter moved out into an apartment, even though I assured her I do conduct personal hygiene on a regular basis.

Today it is supposed to hit 100 or so degree's and my plans are to subdue the wild bass, then off to other things.

As of today, I don't know what unit I will be working with for the next while, there is a list of things that I don't know really, which I guess if not par for the course is what reality brings.