Sojourn to Afghanistan
The following is a series of emails I sent to chronical my experiences in getting called to war. The basic background is that I was, and am a Naval Officer. I spent almost 10 years on active duty flying helicopters, going to sea, living overseas, working logistics, and ended up in the Pentagon working budget and policy issues and preparing reports for Congress. I left that life to settle in Jacksonville and raise a family, and then one day I got a phone call that changed my life. This is that story as told through emails I sent home to my friends and family:</p>
I am deeply grateful and humbled by the support and concern our family has received over the past few weeks. I’ve been called duty, and though this was not our plan, I’m going willing to serve, and I will be better able to conduct my mission with your love in our hearts. I’ve now finished the Navy portion of my “processing” and am on the way to an Army Camp in Mississippi to learn about Army things. My basic role will be to train the Afghan National Army in Logistics… I’m currently leading a group of 14 Navy Supply and Medical personnel, and we’ll be in various parts of Afghanistan, preparing the country to assume the duties of National Defense. We have at least 150 Navy folks going, performing various different missions, and I understand we’ll join about 1,000 National Guard troops, and all go over together. I’ll be learning Dari and Pashtu, as well as the use of Army equipment, before I head over in May. I’ll be “in-country” for a year, and will not be back in Jacksonville until at least June 2007, and it may be August before I’m available for beer and war stories. I do know that this will be an incredibly rewarding experience, and I’m sure in the future I’ll count this as one of my most significant periods of my life.</p>
My business is continuing in my absence, thanks in large part to the help of my boss. I have a team in place, taking care of my customers, and I will still have good email access, and will even be able to retrieve voice mail and faxes (the numbers below will continue to work, particularly for messages). I will be working on several license and designation classes, and hope to return with a stronger skill set than when I left. I’ll have a mailing address in Afghanistan soon, and will promulgate that information. I plan to serve as a conduit for all the troops to home, and will be seeking other Florida residents. I know I have phenomenal support, and plan to spread that as far as it will go. We currently have about 20,000 troops in Afghanistan, and that seems to be increasing.
Thanks again, I couldn’t do this without you. I’ll give you more information as I have it. Feel free to forward my emails to those who may not have received them. Raise a cup for me at Starbuck’s and I’ll hurry home.