In the deserts of Kuwait and Southern Iraq, the nights come quick. It’s as if you can watch the sun go down in a mater of minutes. It’s a quiet peaceful time. There may be trucks in the motor pool prepping for missions, and the constant drone of the camp generators in the background, but while watching the sunset on the front porch of the Squadron headquarters, all is quiet. There’s a war going on, but not right there, not on my front porch.
When the night comes, the temperatures cool some, but not enough, at least not this time of year. Sometimes, when I can break from the Squadron Headquarters, the sounds of metal on metal and the glow of the maintenance tent draw me out to see the troops. Like the Cavalry of old, skilled tradesmen are working through the night to make sure our horses are properly shoed and feed. They must work swiftly and smartly as the night doesn’t last long. By 4:30 the sun is peaking the horizon and the heat of the day is not far behind.
Hopefully very soon thought I’ll be leaving my desert for a little bit. If all goes well tomorrow’s sunrise will be over the US. I’m heading home for my R&R Leave, Rest and Recuperation as they used to call it. Refit and Recovery in the new Army speak I suppose. Either way, it doesn’t matter. With the grace of God, a little luck from Boeing and a tailwind I’ll be back home with my wife and children in a day.
We haven’t told Evan that I’m coming home and Camden is too little to understand. For a long time I had said that I wasn’t going to come home for leave. I think I said something to the effect of “After the last tour I can do this one standing on my head.” Well, I can’t do headstands. Even though I said I wouldn’t come home, I am. And I’m pretty excited about it, so is Beth. We didn’t tell Evan because we didn’t want to get his hopes up to have them dashed by me having to stay here for some reason. At first Beth was concerned that if I came home and then left again, Evan wouldn’t understand. But I think we’ll be alright. Evan’s pretty smart for his age. He knows that Daddy is a long way away helping people. He knows that’s what Army men do, help people and chase bad guys. He’s only 4 and he gets it. Too bad some other people still don’t.
If time allows, I’ll post while I’m home. We’ll see. I know from last time that even though I say I won’t, I’ll be watching the TV while home, looking for my Troopers and listening for anything to do with Soldiers from Michigan. If all goes well, I’ll return to the desert in a few weeks and pick up where I left off. Watching the nights come quick and the days come quicker. But that’s okay. The quicker they come, the sooner we get to all go home.