So after over a month of training (and around 40 days of being away from home), I am finally getting to relax with Stephanie and Samara. Instead of opting to go home (we get 4 days off before we ship out), we decided that they would come up here (Wisconsin) that way we could focus on not doing anything in particular.
Even though I've been mumbling about a day off for some time, it took Stephanie coming up here for me to understand that she was in the same situation that I was. She's just a little more quiet about her plight. For the entire time I have been away from home, she has single-handedly taken care of a rather hyper (now) 7 month old baby girl. She's been working the same types of hours I have and she doesn't get the prospect of all kinds of ribbons, patches, and awards for it. I've spent the last month hearing about how hard the job that lies ahead of us as soldiers is (its really all a matter of perspective), but its clear that those that takes the reigns of the family while we are away bear an equal level of responsibility and hardship.
While I originally thought that I would enjoy a couple of days of unconstrained freedom and the opportunity to sleep in, Samara has clearly demonstrated her ability to be in charge of how we spend our free time. I did manage to order a set of new boots (apparently the Army thinks that the boots that they issued to me and most of my soldiers over 5 years ago are more than adequate to go to Iraq). Personally I find it a bit ridiculous that we have to fork out the cash for new boots, but I find a lot of things about the deployment process to be ridiculous. I got a set of Converse boots, if they're anywhere as cool as Chuck Taylor shoes at least I'll be stylish.
On a positive note, I am excited about the group of soldiers that has been assembled for this deployment. They have come together wonderfully in the past weeks and we are operating as a cohesive unit. For whatever I find lacking in the Army as a system, I always have my faith restored by the people that make the work happen.
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