Sunday, 17 February 2008

The Bloggers Among Us.

It still surprises me how many emails I get about the blog, how many comments I get on the blog and how many people come up to me on the FOB and say, “I didn’t know you had a blog.” The other comment I hear frequently is, “My son (brother, father, friend) never writes! Funny, I don’t hear that comment about daughters, sisters or mothers. I guess women are generally better about keeping in touch with family.



I don’t blog as often as I did when I was at FOB Salerno, and not often enough for some of my friends and family. The differences between my life and my job at FOB Salerno and my life and job here at FOB Apache are like night and day, and one of those differences is the subject my blog entry today.



At FOB Salerno I was in charge of a hospital with over 40 Soldiers and Airmen. I worked behind a desk with all the normal trappings of office work; phone, computer, scanner, printer and most importantly, time. And every day was different and exciting. Over the year we cared for hundreds of trauma patients, and many more routine patients. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week we tracked, received, treated and discharged US, Polish, ANA, KPF, ANP, ASG and civilian casualties and patients. It was exciting; with little down time and few quiet days.



















At FOB Apache my life could not be more different. Here, I’m in charge of no one. I work with an NCO, but I’m not his boss. I am truly a “worker bee”. I have no office, no phone, a borrowed computer, printer and scanner. I often work out of the MWR! The other day I was checking the quantity of fuel in a fuel tanker. Last week I was the driver in a convoy to Kandahar (that’s where the pictures are from). One thing I have plenty of is time. Every day is the same; wake up, go to the gym, visit the Jordanians and help them deal with the crisis of the day (water, sewer, electrical, etc…), to the gym, watch a movie, go to sleep, repeat. It’s definitely NOT 24/7 and there is lots of down time and many quiet days.




















I don’t give this comparison to say one job is good and the other job is bad; in fact, I enjoy both jobs about equally. I like being in charge, but I also like actually doing things myself. I give this comparison to let you know why some of you never hear from loved ones. Around here we refer to our days as “groundhog day”, after the movie of the same name where every day is the same, repeated over and over again. It’s hard to blog (or write home) when every day is the same. It’s hard to write home and tell your family, “No change; same stuff, different day.” Lots of Soldiers (and Sailors, Airmen and Marines) have jobs that keep them busy, but it’s the same every day. Lots of deployed personnel work out of up-armored HMMWVs or trucks. Many of them fly helicopters all day, or maintain them all night. Some of them pull guard duty in towers or at entry control points or at road blocks along major roads. And some of them get shot at frequently, and that’s not something you write home about.



It’s hard to blog or write home when you don’t have an office, when you have to go to the MWR to check your email and write home. I appreciate all of you who read my blog. If it can shed some light on the life of a deployed service member, if it can help a family member connect with the experiences of a loved one, if I can keep in touch with my own family then I have succeeded.



I’m getting close to the end of my 15 month deployment. I should be home soon. Within 60 days I’ll be back home, reconnecting with my wife and daughters and maybe even my son (away at college, but still my son).

That will be an adventure itself, reconnecting and reintegrating after almost 18 months away from home. Maybe I will blog when I get home after all.



Until the next post.

Phillips, out.

17 comments:

jason said...
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margo said...

Thank you for your updates. Even though you are not on Salerno anymore, you still shed light on my son's life. He has had to grow up fast, and has seen more than a person ought to see. I understand the lack of communication. He has commented about groundhog day, about having no idea what day it might be. I am sure reintigration will be a challenge for all involved. He will be coming home when you do. Thank you for all you do.

And maybe you can make some extra money by following the advice of the idiot ahead of me!! LOL

mikentexas said...

Yeh. Obviously you need money to afford razors so you can get rid of that "milk-stache." :)

Anonymous said...

My husband is at salerno hospital. What are the realistic expectations that a loved one should have with emails, and phone calls. I want to be supportive and understanding of his lack of down time and experiences. However, the wife, the women or both in me wants more. I don't want to add additional stress to his daily challenges, or utter words that may seem ungrateful. He is a warrant officer with many responsibities. Could you bring some enlightment to this internal struggle, what does your wife say? :-)

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post - From the Front: 02/18/2008 - News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

bulletlauncher said...

When you get back we're going to reconnect over some good old fashioned oat sodas.

Leta said...

I always enjoy reading your blog entries. I suppose your candor is what I appreciate most. While way too many Americas refuse to accept that our Warriors ARE at war in more than one place around the world and NEED and DESERVE our supports others want to live in a WWII movie where the handsome Warrior comes home to the anxiously awaiting girl friend or wife.

I guess it's just impossible for me to understand why more Americans (especially those with no family members deployed) won't educate themselves by reading blogs such as yours that enable us to understand your realities.

We owe each of you and your loved ones so much. I know you all don't feel that way but we do. Thank you for taking the time to "make it real" to us.

Be safe as you count down to that great reunion with your family and friends who have supported you through this long deployment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your good advice, my husband was not aware that I needed him to share more of his life with me, so that I could be here more for him. Our communication has improved greatly.

Thank you again, God Bless you and your family.

Kim

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