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Editor’s note: As a special service for our readers, WND is running a series of dispatches from Allan Wall chronicling his transition from civilian life as he prepares to fight with his National Guard unit in Iraq. Allan will write for us as often as he is able in order to let our readers vicariously experience what people in his position are going through. We hope you will check regularly for Allan’s dispatches and encourage your friends and family to do likewise.
My National Guard unit is here at Fort XYZ, training for duty in Iraq. We are all soldiers. Yet we are all members of families as well. We are all sons – many of us are husbands, fathers, some even grandfathers. So we have to keep up with the family back home.
There are several ways to keep in touch. Cell phones are everywhere and during off-time you can see Guardsmen chatting with wives, sweethearts or children. The great advantage of a cell phone is its mobility and the fact that you don’t have to wait in line for a phone.
But “snail mail” is still important . There is something special about a handwritten letter that a telephone can’t duplicate.
Guardsmen’s salaries are deposited fortnightly into their banks at home, to which their wives have access, so they can pay the bills at home.
But still, families are missed. Life at home goes on, and it can be difficult to deal with problems that arise there. And not only problems, the deployed Guardsman is absent for birthdays, special occasions and school activities. And he misses out on the day-in, day-out, everyday life with his wife and children – the real stuff of which family life is made.
Here are just a few family situations encountered by some of my comrades:
One Guardsman’s grandfather recently died, and he returned for a few days to attend the funeral. Another Guardsman announced the birth of his new grandchild. Another’s wife had financial problems at home. Somebody’s mother suffered a heart attack, and another’s mother had surgery. Then there was the Guardsman who asked for (and received) permission to go home a few days to get married. A Guardsman’s daughter is getting married. A divorced dad in the platoon has problems seeing his son … etc., etc.
The wives back home have a real difficult mission to perform. The wife of a deployed Guardsman has to manage her husband’s business, pay the bills, and take care of the children. On top of this is her constant concern for her husband’s safety. Being a soldier’s wife is the toughest job in the Army.
Our unit is still at Fort XYZ, stateside. When we go to Iraq, these problems will be even more difficult to deal with.
I really miss my wife, Lilia, and my two boys. Already, being deployed has helped me appreciate even more my family and our life together. I eagerly look forward to being reunited with them.
Soon after I began writing this column for World Net Daily, I received a very encouraging letter from a reader on this very topic. She wrote me this message:
“Allan, tell your wife and sons that the separation will draw all of you closer. My husband got orders to Vietnam when our seventh child was 3-weeks-old (1968). It was scary, but we all came through stronger. You and your family are in my prayers.”
I thank this reader for her words of encouragement. God bless all of our deployed troops … and their families.