A tour to any combat zone will change your view on things. Mine was a trip to Iraq from 2003-2004. I became very solid in my beliefs, faced the prospect of not returning home and still have the letter I wrote to my husband and children in the event of my demise. It remains in the same Ziploc baggie that I had tucked away in my helmet during the entire tour. War just changes you.
I was a turbine surgeon aka helicopter powerplant repairer aka engine mechanic. We were a hotshot army reserve unit manned by some of the most intelligent and amazing people I have ever known in my life! We were hotshot BECAUSE we were a reserve unit. Our teams were made up of civilians who were Boeing mechanics, full-time Army Reserve mechanics and professional pilots who flew for any number of American corporate airlines and delivery services. Several on our team served in VIETNAM and were now in Iraq…nearing or in their 60s.
We were extended more times than I care to count because of our talents while we watched several other units, to include active duty ones, come and go. But we all came home. A neighboring Guard unit was not so lucky. F-106 AVN lost 2 birds during our stay and the RPGs took them FULL of soldiers headed home on R&R leave. Read about it here. Look for F-106 on 02 NOV 03. 16 souls lost and 25 injured.
At the memorial we had in the desert, I have never in my life seen so many men crying. I will never forget that day; that scene; that loss.
Every day I wake up, I thank God for life and for the ability and privilege of having my family, my friends, a job, a roof over my head and now, this studio and its clients. I know, it sounds so cliché but it’s how it is. Don’t forget to say thank you to the troops; any of them, whether it be a group or just one person that you’ve met. Chances are, they really earned it and will never ask for your thanks.