Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On the Other Foot

My son is serving in the military. He's deploying now for the first time to Afghanistan ... and I'm concerned.

I guess now, for the first time in my life, the shoe is on the other foot. Being retired military myself, I've experienced my share of deployments. But back then, it was different, it was me deploying, not my only son.

Of course, what I never gave thought to before was, I was someone else's only son. I never understood the heartache my family experienced when I left. For me, it was an adventure -- I was going someplace new without concern for my own mortality.

It is amazing to me that one does not consider such things until it is a loved-one moving into harm's way.

Maybe it was the military training. I was only concerned with completing the mission at the time. I knew that my family would be taken care of, should something happen to me. But what I was unaware of, was the emotional toll my leaving put upon them.

Now, as I think about my son preparing to leave, I suppose I can only hope that he has the benefit of singular focus. Is it possible that my deployments when he was a child will somehow benefit him as he now steps onto that military transport?

In the end, I believe that, despite what many think of our military training and how many believe that the military brainwashes their soldiers into being robots, This training is, in fact, beneficial -- necessary even -- to the survival of the deployed soldier and the accomplishment of their mission.

So see, all you civilians out there? When a soldier must deploy and they don't seem to be emotionally distraut about it, this is to their benefit -- and yours if you are a loved one.