November 6, 2005

Deployment test begins

George left today for a "mission rehearsal exercise" which essentially puts the Soldiers in a "real-life" training situation. The program is the Joint Readiness Training Center, here at Fort Polk. Every few weeks we see a new unit come in. They stay in the North Fort cantonment area, where there are barracks. Its kind of neat to see the place. "The Box", as they call it, has small villages build throughout it, where role-players actually speak the various languages.

I think its a little harder for me now, knowing that George is less than three miles from our home but won't be there at night. In April the brigade sent three or four battalions to Fort Chaffee, Ark. for the same type of training there. It wasn't so hard then because he had his cell phone and called me at night, or the very least every few days.

You're probably thing, "what is she so worried for, its just a training mission," but if you knew the battalion's history, you would see that we've had a bit of bad luck on these extended training exercises. We have had three shooting accidents, one fatal, since Fort Chaffee, the first long-term training exercise. Other accidents have happened as well with vehicles and such.
Anyway, last night I took it pretty hard. I was pretty emotional after the deployment briefing last night. I was pretty quiet at home while we waited for the pizza to arrive (after and hour and a half!) and I know it upset George, but he was in the midst of last minute packing. I was pretty exhausted once I finally fell asleep and I think Sgt. Major felt it too, because he was up all night barking and scurrying about the house.

He gets that way when George is gone ... very protective and even more clingy. I spend every night trying to do homework or cross-stitching with a 60 lb. dog in my lap and have the bruises to prove it.

Everybody is like "you're independent, youĂ‚’re strong, you'll get through it just fine." But what if I don't. Sometimes I hate being strong ... why can't I fall apart and let someone else fix it? But that'll never happen.

As fourth child and oldest girl in a family of 12, I've always had to worry how the other others were holding up in difficult times. It was really hard when I was an FRG (family readiness group) leader of 40-50 spouses. That's what I was doing when we got the call about the Soldier who had died (see Military Life: Not Always Easy in October archives). Everyone was looking to me for answers and it was hard. Now that we've moved to a new company, we are in a different FRG. I am quite content to be at the end of the information chain, although my new FRG leader keeps pushing for me to be a point of contact person.
I'm content to be the battalion publicity chairperson for now. I am volunteering in other areas that are a lot less stressful. Being the AWANAs cubbies (three-year-olds) craft teacher is not that hard, but a lot of fun.

I did get a chance to meet him for lunch, although it was a short one. We went to the deli just up the road from his battalion and grabbed a couple sandwiches. No sooner had I put my last bite of burger into my mouth than he asked, "Can we eat the chips in the car?" And that was it. I dropped him off at the battalion HQ as he was rattling on about what he had to do before they moved out.

I guess 21 days is not that long.Theree is always worse. He'll get to come in for Thanksgiving which we'll spend with our family inHoustonn and them he'll return to the field for another week or so. This, I foresee, will be what our life is like over the next few months as his unit prepares to leave. I guess in the whole scheme of things, I should find the positives to think about while he is gone. Until the deployments over though, I can't promise "rosy" postings everyday ... but I'll be o.k.

Editor's note: This posting was written Nov. 2, but as with and military unit event, was not posted until all personnel had completed movement. This is done as a general safety practice.

1 Tea Party Guest:

Kelly'sEffeminateAngel said...

So sorry to hear that you are having a hard time, :(. I know it must be difficult. But believe want him as prepared as he can be. And be sure to enjoy any rantings he is putting out there...I can't tell you how sweet it would be to hear my soldier rant on about nothing, if only to hear his voice. I know its hard to be strong, and most times I am like "Ok, I want to be done now!!" Unfortunately, you are being forced into a task that I am guessing, no one in their right mind would want to take on. After almost a year, I am totally exhausted and I feel like I have aged 5 years since last December. Hang tight! Just know that there are plenty of others out there that are willing to support you while you support him. This is a team effort really, family and friends will make a world of difference in the months to come. Have faith and are not alone. God Bless you and your husband, may the time fly!