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Rock and Roll is a Viscious Game

Note from Andy:  When I wrote the second blog entry about TSGT Ron,  the news of Cait’s deployment was still fresh and raw on me.  I decided to wait to write about it.  Cait and I had talked about her doing some blog entries here while she was deployed –this was in my inbox from her this morning.

Of course I do not like it and of course I am not OK with it.  Of course I will support her in all ways possible.  She is leaving the more or less safe cocoon of the Air Force and reporting for a year’s detachment to the Army.  3 months of combat training and 9 months in Afghanistan with an Army PRT Team (wiki).  I have always told her it is the ‘karma thing’ — everything happens for a reason.  I gotta be believing in that myself now as well.

She was overseas for 4 years and will only have been stateside for 15 months when she deploys. She will be just past her 25th birthday when she heads over.  I was just getting used to having her a safe phone call away…

 

2006- On the way to the Air Force. Me and Big Bro

I joined the military in April of 2006. I wasn’t even a year removed from my Senior Prom or high school football games. I was waiting tables in a small town, making peanuts for tips, and I started to get the “itch”. Something I no doubt inherited from my father and his grandfather before him. The itch that there is a big world out there and I was anxious to make a difference and to matter.

I wanted to do something hardcore, having that same sense of invincibility as most of my peers. My recruiter though, took one look at me standing nearly six feet tall and 120 pounds soaking wet and declared that I should become a radio and television broadcaster for the United States Air Force. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I was anxious to get out of North Texas and get started with my life. I just didn’t know how close to my destiny real life was going to hit.

I found out a month before graduation from my technical school in the fall of 2006 that my first assignment would be to Lajes Field in the Azorean Islands. It was my second choice on my “dream sheet” and all of a sudden- there it was. The insane winds, the immense blue Atlantic, and a bevy of new brothers and sisters that would become lifelong friends. I was 19 years old and I was living and working on a Portuguese Island that was smaller than the county I was from in Texas. It was a dream assignment, topped only by my “follow-on” assignment to Aviano Air Base in Northern Italy.

Interviewing Toby Keith- Aviano, IT

I was doing amazing things, not necessarily for the Air Force, but for my personal bucket list. I was hosting kickass classic rock shows, I was starring in travel shows about Italy, I was raising a little boy on pasta, cheese, and “Ciao!”. The Air Force was so good to me that I almost felt guilty. I watched my peers get picked up for six-month rotations to the desert and I almost felt like a dirt bag for not being there with them. I would often think how FAST six months had gone by when they would come back. Deployments seemed so easy, they are so normal- and I knew it was only a matter of time.

When I came back to the states for my next assignment, I knew that my number was just about up. There’s no way I could avoid missing the deployment, but my time to go came & went with no orders dropping for Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, or anywhere. We had settled into a routine here, a new house, new friends (and a few old ones), American stores, goals of finishing college, mentoring young Airmen. All of that changed when my supervisor handed me an orange post-it note that said “Deployment. Spring 2012. Call UDM (Unit Deployment Manager)”

It’s time to pay the piper, and with my charmed career- I owe him pretty big. Ninety days of training with the Army, followed by 270 days of winning the hearts and minds of the locals in Afghanistan. I gave myself a full week to let it sink in, to let myself be bummed about missing Christmas, birthdays, my little guy growing up. That week is up today, and it’s time to rock and roll.

I wish I knew what to expect, but sometimes that’s half of the adventure. The Air Force has never let me down, and after all she’s done for me- I don’t plan to let her down on this one either.

End Note: I Ain’t Ever Giving In by Fred Eaglesmith from the Falling Stars and Broken Hearts cd.
 

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1 comment to Rock and Roll is a Viscious Game

  • TSgt Ron

    Hi Cait

    Your right to be a tad freaked out. Perfect normal. It means your sane. Leaving everything behind that you know is always a challenge. Your going to have an experience though. Your going to do something greater than just yourself and it’s going to make you a better person. Best advice I can give you is do a big family trip before you deploy and take lots of pictures. You will be amazed how many times you look at them when deployed. Also plan a big trip when your tour is over. Helps to have goals to look forward to. We try for Disney after a long deployment. This time though I bought my dream gun before I left. .50 cal desert eagle. Only took 10 plus years to get. Lol. Anyhow each person handles deployment different. You get one guy who hates everyday and brings everyone down or you get the guy who everyone wants to be with cause they are a ray of sunshine. Be the second choice. Deployment is a good time to do college classes if you have Internet. I am finishing up a masters degree with tui university. Use your time to improve yourself either for your education or your physical fitness. Just my thought after deploying for 15 years. Your first trip is always the toughest cause you don’t know what to expect. Email me if you need a pick me up or have any questions. You dad has my email. Don’t forget to send your family things every now and then. Things from around the world are always cool! Take care.

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