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.