A Thanksgiving On Mission

By SFC John Wells, TXSG

the moonSOMEWHEREVILLE, TX — It’s a process…. One you’re not aware that you’re taking part in.. Until you do.

 You get your orders.. Gather
your equipment.. Don your uniform.. Double-check that you have prepared your family for the deployment tour you’re about to

You fret about what you forgot to take care of…. For her, for your son…. You wonder if your elderly dog will be there when
you get home.

 And then you leave..

You arrive at your in-processing camp. You learn what JRSOI stands for. You do the things they
need to know you, pay you, assign you, find you. Then they send you.

 You arrive at your home for the length of your tour, You meet
your Commanding Officer, your NCO Supervisor..

 Your new family; your troops. You get organized and get to work.

But that’s not the
process I’m talking about.

Your favorite holiday comes around; Thanksgiving. You catch yourself talking with your fellow Soldiers
about the Joys, Laughter, Food and Fun you have on your family Thanksgivings..

 The conversation trails off as you realize.. Not this

  The process is the one that morphs you into one of the faces you see from far-flung Forward Operating Bases around the
world.. Your Brothers and Sisters.. Fighting for our country and the Freedom and Liberty strangers who have never had it.

They’re the
ones you see with the Presidents, Generals, Governors, TV cameras, as they hand you plates of hot Thanksgiving food, earnestly
thank you for your service, reaffirm what you already knew.. This is important work. You’re doing the work you enlisted to do..

 Defending Texas.

 The process is the one you discover in the commitment, the distance, the disconnection, the fatigue, the eventual
settling in, the single-minded focus on mission success, the obsession of Troop Safety.

 And then..

 You find yourself really enjoying
a morning shower in something half the size of a phone booth. You revel in the soft pajamas your wife sent you off in, as you lay
down in a tiny bunk with curtains.. You fall asleep looking forward to O-Dark-Thirty..

 You begin to feel at home.

 A mist forms behind
you.. One you hope doesn’t get so thick that you can’t find your way back.. To your real home.. To her.

 That’s the process.. Maybe
that’s why the military team you’re a part of is called a Detachment.


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