I often think about how I could have done more. I also think about the young kids (the PFC's and SPC's). And I also go back and forth between wanting to go back for the adrenaline rush and dreading going back because of hardships.

Posted by Randy at July 24, 2007 09:26 AM

I almost held it all together...right up until your last comment Sarah...about thinking one could have done more.

CPT Patti (now former Major Patti) still faces that particular demon, apparently feeling that if she'd tried even harder she could have willed days to have 36 hours in them. In the extra hours I imagine she'd have held the hands of every one of her soldiers, rocked them to sleep, donated blood on each's behalf and started college funds for all of their children.

And here I am - amazed at what she accomplished, inspired by her dedication, sacrifice, commitment, and absolute selflessness the likes of which most on this planet, myself included, will never have or give...somehow trying to rationalize away her "irrational" (my judgment) notion that she could have done any more.

I wasn't there. I don't get it (again, my judgment, not hers). I'll NEVER get it. And though I'm her husband and she is my Sweetest Woman on the Planet, in some ways I'll never be as close to her as her soldiers. I may be the love of her life, but I'll never be her Battle Buddy.

As it is I simply have to somehow try to understand that now, three years later, she can speak about it only for 20 minutes or so - and when she trails off into silence, I know the headache has returned...the headache she gets when she reviews the photos, or sees the news - the one that prevents us from watching an entire half hour show on OIF.

Is that PTSD? We don't know. But its our "different" that Jules speaks of.

Could she have done more? She still believes so.

Posted by Tim Fitzgerald at July 24, 2007 08:04 PM

Jules was embedded with a very good friend of ours during the first push into Baghdad. He's a wonderful writer and one heck of a guy.

Posted by Non-Essential Equipment at July 25, 2007 01:37 AM

I've tried several times to write a post on supporting our troops and their families but I've never posted it. After a career that ended in 1975, I think I have a perspective of experience and also distance of 31 years after service. With so few troops and their families serving so much time in Iraq, I also feel inadequate to the task.

Our unit was unfortunate in being the most experienced early in the Vietnam War. So we were almost continuously deployed over the next three years. The hard part is never knowing when you would actually get back to your wife and kids.

You do let the war take over your mind and it always takes a lot of time to "decompress" and get back to a normal life. The current deployment schedules must be devastating on family life.
The general public seems totally unaware of the sacrifices beyond the casualties.

My wife of 48 years also served. She supported me in my service, raised our boys, and moved our household effects whenever the Navy decided to move me. She takes great pride in having been a military wife. We both believe the military community is a special place. It is what sustains the mind when all else is tragedy.

I regularly support veteran issues and organizations but I wish there were better ways for the average citizen to show support other than a faded and torn car decal. Maybe just knowing that there are some old vets that do understand your sacrifice is enough? I hope so.

Posted by RobertD at July 25, 2007 11:26 AM