Friday, June 03, 2005

Adjusting to Home

I have had many people ask something in the vein of "so is it different being back home?" Usually the next thing they say is something about "its better, of course..." I understand what they are trying to ask, however. "In a polite way, I'm just trying to find out if you are having any problems since you came back".
The short answer is - yes.
The Army does a much better job of getting you ready for going home than they did after my first deployment (Operation Joint Guard/Joint Endeavor in 1997) - so I was was dismayed by some things I felt and experienced, but not surprised by them. Initial letdown ("so that's it?") was much harder than I had expected. March 17th I went on 3 separate missions "outside the wire", March 19th my base was subjected to a rocket attack, March 21st I flew to Kyrgyzstan (during the recent revolution to boot!) March 23rd I landed in Wisconsin and by March 28th I was home. By March 30th I was feeling quite deflated.
Quite unexpected things set off strong reactions with little warning. Two examples: I went to a family gathering in Las Vegas in early May. When I saw the water/fountain show in front of the Bellagio - it just did not compute. I spent a lot of time and effort to help the Afghans in Parwan and Kapisa provinces get enough water to drink, much less grow crops. Here I was watching tens of thousands of gallons shooting into the air to amuse me. I was not very good company that evening; I saw a post on a milblog about an aircrew transporting a child who was a minestrike victim (I linked to it in an earlier entry). That was bad enough, but it brought back some memories I really didn't want to rehash. For some darn reason, a time when our best NCO and I escorted a father who had come to our base with his injured son (who had just died) to a guest house just off the base, came back to me. He was thanking us for what we had done, and I was already feeling terrible that we couldn't save his son. I had pushed that one to the back of my mind, but there it was again, front and center.
I do hope that this kind of stuff will lessen, in time. I know I don't have it as bad as the wounded, or those that saw much worse than I - and I sure hope I don't come across as whining or such. It's just a bit puzzling to me - and, again, people have asked.

Thanks for your attention


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