I have come upon many Military families since my son was deployed last year. Although we are strangers to each other, we are also kindred spirits with something in common. These two stories stand out in my mind.
One day I saw a man in a parking lot. His truck was covered with Army stickers and he wore an Army jacket. I knew I had to speak to this man, a stranger that I never saw before. I introduced myself and asked him who his soldier was. His son, a Kiowa Warrior pilot (like my son) was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.
What are the chances that I would meet someone whose son flies the same helicopter as my son? As we talked about our sons, we were kindred spirits – two parents who love their sons more than life itself. I looked in his eyes and could feel how much love and care he had for his son, and his concern for sending him off to a war zone. It was so emotional that I had to excuse myself for a few moments and compose myself or I would have been a flood of tears!
I returned to continue a conversation with this Army Dad that was heartfelt, deep, and with complete understanding. Sometimes there are no words needed – our eyes said it all. Before leaving, he gave me a picture of his son, told me his name, and expressed amazing pride as a Father.
Another day, I saw a woman in the parking lot with Army Mom stickers all over her car. When she got out of the car I approached her and introduced myself. I asked who her soldier was. We held hands together in that moment with tears in our eyes as we spoke of our soldiers. She was a complete stranger to me but yet we understood each other completely in a heartfelt and emotional moment in time. We offered God’s blessings to each other and went our separate ways.
I don’t know these people but it doesn’t matter. We are all in this together, supporting our children, our soldiers. We share the greatest pride, the greatest fear, and the greatest faith – and we do this together.
I thank you all for being in this together with me and with each other.
Faith Deployed, written by Jocelyn Green is aimed at military wives. I sent this book to my daughter-in-law after my son was deployed and picked one for myself! As an Army Mom, Faith Deployed helped me gain a better understanding of what my daughter-in-law may be going through as an Army wife. The encouragement and devotionals in the book help me get through some tough days too!
Jocelyn Green is an award winning writer who knows firsthand about the unique demands of military life. She and the other contributing writers in this book connect biblical principals to the challenges of daily life while their husbands were deployed.
Faith Deployed includes about 80 stories, written by Military wives from all branches.
Each story is only 2 pages making it easy to read, but believe me, each story contains a powerful message of encouragement. These stories will give you insight to what other wives went through during deployments that as a Military wife, you will connect with.
As an Army Mom, I found this book to be a wonderful resource full of faith strenghening stories that have helped changed my outlook when I have a sad day. One of my favorite passages is “Choosing Hope”. It’s a story about choosing hope when your faith gives way to doubt.
If you are a Military wife or know one, Faith Deployed is a must read!
Jocelyn Green’s website: http://jocelyngreen.wordpress.com/
Typically BlackHawks (UH-60) and Chinooks (CH-47) are the helicopter used for air assault missions and they are accompanied by air support armed helicopters like Kiowa Warriors (OH-58) and Apaches (AH-64).
Preparation for air assault is tough, and includes rigorous training on aeromedevac operations, slingload rigging, and rappelling. Air assault troops must know how to efficiently exit and enter helicopters fast so the helicopter can be in the air as quickly as possible. Helicopters are too vulnerable on the ground.
If the helicopter hovers instead of landing, then troops must rappel out of the helicopter safely and quickly to the ground. This is a troop insertion technique during which soldiers can exit their helicopter while it is still airborne at up to 100 feet. Not an easy task, especially when dust and debris is kicking up all around from the helicopter rotors.
Once the troops are on the ground, they must immediately secure the area around them for safety. They stay in contact with the armed helicopters in a well coordinated mission. Communications and following instructions are crucial to the success of these missions. If the mission is conducted over several days, the Chinooks return to resupply the troops with water, food, and ammo.
Air assault operations are limited by adverse weather, heavy enemy anti-aircraft defenses, and availability of suitable landing zones.
The air assault video shows you even more skills that our amazing troops use for air assault missions.
Cynthia Gibbs wrote this heartfelt poem that really hit home with me. Enjoy and thank you Cynthia!
She had waited all week without a word;
Had cried many times til her vision was blurred.
Then the message “Just want u to know I’m OK”
Appeared on her screen as she sat in the café.
Her friends had smiled as she snatched up her phone -
They knew who it was by the sound of its tone
And the relieved expression that washed over her face -
Their voices grew hushed as they gave her some space.
Now strangers nearby give a puzzled glance
And are wondering why she grabs this chance.
Why she first smiles, and then wipes a tear
And seems so oblivious to all who are near.
But her time is precious and her minutes are few
To send back her replies “I luv & miss u!”
“Do u need anything?” “R ur buddies OK?”
And “Did u have a nice day 2day?”
In no time at all it comes to an end
As she writes one more message and presses “send”.
For her soldier must leave now and be on his way
Where he’s going, he cannot say.
She longs and prays for the day he comes home
But today her love must be sent through her phone.
poem by Cynthia Gibbs
© Cynthia Gibbs
Almost no rain falls from June to October. The lower parts of the country have a semi-arid or desert climate. Summers are sunny and hot, except in the higher mountains. Sunshine amounts range from six to seven hours a day in winter to as much as twelve to thirteen in summer.
These same tips apply for Iraq where summer temperatures exceed 120 degrees F.
With that in mind, pack your care packages accordingly when the weather is super hot. Here are a few tips for packing care packages for the unbearably hot weather!
- Anything that will keep our soldiers cooler
- Battery operated fan
- Under Amour socks (or something similar) – Accelerated moisture release (mesh vents) help to filter moisture to outside of sock to keep feet cool and dry.
- Other Under Amour garments -a spandex-like brand of synthetic underwear, socks and T-shirts designed to keep wearers cool
- Shorts and tank tops to wear while sleeping
- Baby powder – belts and hot weather can causes rashes at the waistline
- Dr. Scholls foot powder
- Sun block
- Blister pack gum – gum can stick to the foil wrappers in hot weather
- Hand cream for dry skin
- Cool tie neck bands – helpful if your soldier has a cold place like a fridge or ice chest to store it prior to wearing
- Water balloons to use for fun and as a stress reliever.
- Tootsie rolls don’t melt
- Items MUST hold up in 120 degree + temperatures!
- NO chocolate – including chocolate covered items
- NO Flea Collars! Some soldiers were using them (on their boots) to ward off sand fleas and ticks and getting sick from the pesticides mixed in with the hot sticky weather.
- Stick deodorant or lip balm MAY melt before reaching their destination (send a bunch in the cool weather)
- Bar soap and other toiletries with scent in same box – when possible, send these items in a separate box. If not, be sure to place these in double zip-locked bags or the food in the box will taste like deodorant or soap.
Note – Request your FREE USPS Military Care package kit (shipping supplies) by calling 1-800-610-8734.
If you have more tips, please comment!
When a parent is deployed to a war zone, it can be difficult on the children left behind at home. The United Through Reading Military Program provides parents a way to make connections with their children by having deployed parents read childrens books aloud via DVD for their child to watch at home.
How does it work?
- The service member reads a book while being recorded and sends the DVD to the child.
- The child at home watches the DVD and follows along with a book (if available).
- The parent at home captures the child’s reaction in a photo or email and sends back to the service member.
- The service member’s morale is boosted!
Where is the program available?
National Program Managers from United Through Reading are working directly with over 200 Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard commands, including more than 60 select USO locations that are hosting United Through Reading Military Program. In 2006 United Through Reading invited USO to make the program accessible to Service members who visit participating centers.
You can check to see if your soldier’s unit is listed as participating in the program and contact the email address for that area. The program is available at many locations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait.