Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Been a while... again

Long time, no post.

No Recruiting news, not much to post.

Wasted a week at the end of October in Chicago attending a conference.

On Sunday I watched the Texans lose a second heartbreaker in a row. To their credit they didn't lose the way I'd imagined they would (I'd bet "punt returned for TD").

Within my battalion I'm the Casualty Ops guy. If we need to provide people for Casualty Assistance, Casualty Notification, or provide a Military Funeral Honors Team I'm the person contacted to spin those elements up.

I got that call Sunday night.

A Soldier had been found dead at their residence. Since it was 6pm on a Sunday night, and I already had my dress uniform ready I told the Casualty Assistance Center that I'd do the Next of Kin notification. I'm not going to ruin someone else's night by having them go out.

I met up with the other Soldier who was going with me to do the notification. We had to officially notify the Soldier's father of their death and offer the Army's condolences.

It is never an easy duty. Although this was made somewhat easier as the father was already aware that the Soldier was dead. My partner and I are still showing up at someone's house, in this case very late (because we had to drive about 90 miles we didn't arrived until almost 10), and inserting ourselves into a very personal and private moment.

Sitting there in the living room with this Soldier's father and step-mother there is little you can say. You relay the message that the Army mourns their loss. You provide what comfort you should. You relay what information they need, and what you know of what they want. You gather the information you need from them.

There's a lot more to say on this, and it was a really fascinating and emotional night. My partner and I were let into a family that didn't know either of us from Adam. They shared with us some very private things that, I think, they needed to share. And they told us these things to make us feel better.

Being in the Army can be trying.

Decisions made about you, over which you have no authority or ability to concur, resist, or change. Choosing who gets sent into some of the most dangerous fighting occurring in the world. Inconsistent schedules and last-second changes rendering previous plans obsolete. Having to separate who you are as a person from who you are as a professional. These and a thousand other cuts chip away and can stress you out.

But sitting there on a stranger's couch, after telling him that his child is dead, in part due to his service in the Army which I represent, and having that stranger thank me for coming all that way to relay this news in person was a touching, almost over-whelming moment.

I really cannot see me ever loving to do something more than I love being a Soldier.

Anyways. Have to finish packing.


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