Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Headed to War
After watching the unit train for months, we finally bid them farewell. They boarded their aircraft and flew away, going to a war that started before some of them even graduated from high school. (The above photo is my unit leaving for Iraq in 2004.)
I stood by the gate as they filed through and I shook hands with every single one of them: The officers, the sergeants and the young men and women they lead. Looking them in the eyes as I have so often over the years, it is impossible not to think the unthinkable.
There is that terrible chance some of them won’t come home. Because we are the ones who trained and prepared them for man’s most horrible game, we will track them carefully during their deployment. They know they can still call on us by phone, email or “snail” mail. If they need us, we will still try to help them, even from here, but their leadership is strong and they will do just fine.
We must have faith that we gave them the tools, the training and the leaders to fight their war. Fortunately, many of their officers and sergeants have already been to war – some more than once. They have the experience to mentor those wide-eyed youngsters who will set foot into their first war zone and face a dedicated, ruthless enemy.
May God bless and protect these warriors and may He safeguard their families at home.
SFC Chuck Grist