29 July 2010

The Waiting Games

It's hard enough for soldiers to understand the old "hurry up and wait." From Basic Training on, soldiers develop a tolerance for administrative bull-pucky and standing in lines and generally not knowing what's going on. Friends and family, however, grow impatient with a lack of easy and quick answers. Hurry up and wait doesn't translate very well to the civilian world.

Here's a little perspective:

As late as this week--in some cases, after months or years of preparation--I have friends who still don't know whether or not they're going to deploy. Some of them do know they're going to deploy, they just don't know what day they're supposed to get on the bus.

"Uh, Honey? I could be leaving next week. Or maybe tomorrow. They're still trying to figure out which bus I'm on ..."

It goes the other way, too: A couple of our soldiers were recently pulled off the deployment list, casualties of last-minute paperwork requirements and medical checks. One of them even found out that, instead of fighting the Taliban for the next year, he's going to be fighting cancer.

Other friends have just been transferred within the brigade, and don't know exactly when their "new" units' send-off ceremonies are scheduled. Even when dates and times are known, there can be worried questions. One wife asked mine whether she would be able to give her husband "one last hug" at the send-off, or whether the troops just all march off to the buses. She just wanted to know, so that she could prepare herself and her kids.

Those aren't complaints, mind you. That's just life in the military.

Thing is, our families aren't IN the military. Or, at least, they don't feel that they are, and they haven't had much opportunity to build up the jaded, sarcastic "all this has happened before" mental defenses of the common soldier.

It's a heck of a world when you have to tell your kindergartner to "man up."

Or your mom to "embrace the suck."

Clocks are ticking. Buses are on the way. Families? Families are doing the best they can. It's Mobilization Day, for some of us. The waiting is almost over--and it's about to begin.


  1. Ohh Charlie, I feel their pain. Y'all have our prayers and support!
    Just let us know the where so we can make you all feel our love!

    And stay safe, please,,,

  2. Ain't that the TRUTH! Busting arse to get on the DMD, then flooded out of my house, now begging to buy more days. Like the flood waters, it has now come too fast. And I am still trying to figure out how to apply for Tricare Prime Remote Online! PDV

  3. Such is the life of a warrior family. All the planning, questions and needs, then, bam, the day arrives. Are any of them ready? The troops are torn between leaving their family and just getting it started.

    Save and speedy travels, Sherpa, and prayers for an easy deployment.

  4. Stay safe Sherpa - and virtual hugs for the family from Downunder


  5. Sherpa,
    Check my post from yesdterday for some good tips on preparing for a deployment.
    For my first, I was totally amazed at how screwed up and confused our command was. I mean it wasn't like going to Bosnia was a brand new thing--we were the 14th rotation to go there!
    Then for Iraq, it was even more confused. Hurry up and then do stupiiid stuff that made no sense.
    Good luck

  6. the third book of pries does not contain waiting...it contains stalking until target is in kill zone and then total and udder annihilation!!

  7. I can relate to the wife that wanted to know about the send-off; when my husband left for Basic Training, we got to the 'goodbye' moment very suddenly and we weren't prepared. And the other side of the coin is the danger that you will say a hundred small goodbyes.

    "I love you, be safe, now get your butt on that bus and hurry back."

    Yep, that ought to do it.

  8. I love your wife. You really did marry the right woman didn't ya?.


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