A Lesson Learned
Being deployed to Iraq taught me to appreciate everyday as if it were my last. In October of 2007, I joined the United States Army. In February of 2008, I deployed to Iraq. Little did I know that this would change my view on life tremendously. It would have an effect on me that would change the way I live my everyday life. It would put me through some of the hardest times, as well as some of the best times, and ultimately bring me and my family much closer than we had ever been. First, 15 months is a long time to be away from everything I had known. We didn’t have very many phones there, so I rarely got to call home. For days at a time I never really knew what was going on back home. I would wake up every day wondering if I would get the chance to hold my family again. I wondered if they knew I loved them and missed them with all my heart. I tried not to think about it too much so I could focus on my mission, but it was always on my mind. I would have dreams that felt so real, that when I woke up, I couldn’t believe I wasn’t at home. Second, the weather there was almost unbearably hot. I would literally watch the tar on the roads melt to the tires of the vehicles. Not only did I have to contend with the heat, I had to do it in 70 pounds of gear. We also had to wear long sleeve shirts and pants that were flame retardant to prevent sun burn. The vehicles were heavily armored up and were like an oven. You could not open the windows, and the air conditioning was not very cold. The hottest temperature I recorded was 122 degrees. That was at about 7:00 pm. Last, the food was very scarce. We did not have very many choices for food except what came inside the MRE (meal ready to eat). Our FOB (Forward Operating Base) took a lot of indirect fire and mortar attacks, so pilots did not want to fly to us. The only time I ever really got a hot meal was if I had to go to a different FOB. I would try to take as much food as I could back for everyone...
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