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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My Friends in the US Army

I have 3 friends going to Afghanistan within the next couple weeks. I adore these guys and I'm really having a difficult time with their leaving.

COREY flies Blackhawk helicopters. He and his wife have a girl and a boy and are really godly people whom I admire. We met through our girls being in Brownies together and homeschooling events. He got the homeschooling kids on post recently so they could see the helicopters and my kids loved it. Corey loves to fly.

DAN is a soldier who does whatever his leaders tell him to do. He's a young single guy.
I pick up Dan every Sunday at the Ft. Drum gate and take him to church. His parents are Wycliffe missionaries in Chad. He wants to learn how to fly helicopters while in the army to be able to do mission work when he is out of the service.

JEFF is a Colonel, who left today at 7:30 pm for Afghanistan. He and his wife have become really good friends and my kids love their 2 girls.
I met Jeff & his family when I pastored at the Episcopal Church. We connected as they had attended a Evangelical Covenant Church in Alaska. They came over to the Nazarene Church when we did.

It was an excruciating day in church yesterday. We prayed over Jeff & several soldiers who are being deployed. There wasn't a dry eye in the place.

I have to admit that I have been in absolute agony all day yesterday and today in trying to deal with Jeff's leaving. He'll be gone for about 13 or 14 months. There's this terrible helpless feeling knowing that he is in danger and I can't do anything. Pray for me.

There are some things you should know if the only place you get your information about the war on terror is the media ...
  • Many of these guys are excited to go and believe in their mission whole heartedly. They believe, no, they know they are doing good. Contrary to what asinine politicians say, they know they are appreciated by many Iraqis and Afghanis who have received their freedom. I have heard more than one soldier express that they have a sense of calling in their life to serve in the army.
  • These guys weren't forced to join the army and a lot of them love being soldiers. They get tired of the bureaucratic nightmare of the US Army, but in general they love the camaraderie and doing their job.
  • Contrary to the news shows, the soldiers I know have all the equipment they need. I remember watching some late night news show that was doing a story on soldiers not having enough or the right equipment. It interviewed some mother who bought kevlar for her son cause the army supposedly didn't provide it. The guys I know have more equipment than they can keep handle.
  • Again, contrary to news reports of soldiers doing horrible things, as Americans we can be really proud of our soldiers. My experience of them living here right next door to the base is that as a rule they are extremely courteous, honest, hard working and eager to help anybody who needs it. I genuinely admire and like them.
  • And lastly, you should know that many of their marriages are failing and their families are struggling. They really need us to pray for them.
  • No this is really the last thing you should know: Don't believe the news media's portrayal of the war, the US Army or the soldiers. Just don't.

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