A post from Manhattan, KS.
October 5, 2008
There’s not much motorcycle content in this post, other than to say that many miles on two wheels gives one the time to ponder, to wonder, and to prepare.
Today, Ms. Thug and I bid farewell and Godspeed to our younger son, Mickey as he deployed to a FOB (forward operating base) in Al-Mahmudiyah (kinda’ rhymes with “Mama Mia”), Iraq, about 30 km south of Baghdad. Mick’s older brother Eric, is already deployed in eastern Afghanistan on the Pakistan border. His cousin (Streets’ son) will be deployed to Afghanistan later this fall.
There wasn’t a room for rent for miles of Ft. Riley, as hundreds of families did what we did. A Kansas State home game didn’t help, either.
And in everyone’s mind was the question of “is this the last time we’ll ever see him or her?”. What happens if they are hurt? Who will notify me..and how? What if I’m not home to answer the door or take the call?
Every family is in for months of prayer and anxiety. Their hearts will jump every time a car door slams or the phone rings.
The news reports are the worst. While it’s understandable, in this day of imbedded reporters and cell phones, to have a communications block whenever a soldier is killed, but to read “Four Soldiers Killed in Iraq” without any further information really sucks.
Mick’s a 1LT, an Army Ranger, and is Company XO (executive officer) to 135 men. There are no women, as this is an infantry unit. I saw no fear in eyes of any of the men, just resolve. They know that there’s a good chance that they all won’t come back, but they really appeared focused on the mission they’re sent to accomplish. Each company has five lieutenants, four platoon leaders and an XO. One of the platoon leaders in Mick’s Company is the grandson of the owner of the Chicago Bears. Volunteers, all.
And how young they are. Not the John Wayne-types of WWII movies…just kids. Young moms and children saying good-bye, some for the first time, some for the last. Some tears now, some held in reserve for the next 12 months. They are going to fight an enemy who values death as much as we value life. As U2 wrote: “There’s no political solution..”, so all we can do is wait, pray, and hope until all our soldiers are home.