Thursday, January 05, 2006

Small Blessings

I found this hiding in the draft pile so I decided to just post it. Don't read anything else into it; nothing in my life or situation has changed...nor do I expect it to...
Image hosted by
I have learned to be thankful for the small blessings from the Army.

Once your soldier gets overseas, flexibility takes on a whole other meaning. Plans and orders change faster than they can be handed out and oftentimes Clark didn’t know for sure whether he was going until he was getting into the truck to leave. If his unit was getting ready to move camps, he would try to give me a heads-up that things would be changing within the next few days and that he would call as soon as he could. Obviously, for security reasons, Clark wasn’t able to give me the location of his next stop until he was there, but he used to give me enough clues that as long as I was paying attention, I could figure out what he meant. He moved to four different camps while he was in Kuwait for three weeks, so it was safe to say that at first he did little but pack and unpack his shop.

Clark is a mechanic in an MP company. He and four other guys were in charge of repairing and maintaining over fifty vehicles for their unit. Clark works on everything from humvees to wreckers and all the things in between. My least favorite part of Clark’s job was that he was responsible for doing vehicle recoveries. After an attack or an accident where a vehicle is damaged, someone has to go out and clear the wreckage and get the vehicles back to the base. Well, Clark was one of two guys in the company qualified to drive the 5-ton wreckers, so he was out in the open a lot. I knew that recoveries were part of his job, but it still scared me every time, so usually he wouldn’t tell me until he was done that he had been out and about. And, because he worked with MP’s he often had the “privilege” of driving on raids, also not so reassuring for the girlfriend half a world away. But he always promised he would take care of himself and not take extra risks.

The other thing I worried about with Clark driving the wrecker is that every six weeks to two months, he would have to make the two day trip from Baghdad to Arif Jahn in Kuwait in the supply convoys. He would always call me as soon as he could to warn me that he would be going and when I could expect the next phone call from Kuwait. The two days Clark was travelling each way were incredibly tense and nerve-wracking from my perspective. I hated not knowing if he was alright, I knew he wasn’t safe and even though I was confident in his ability as a soldier, it didn’t make me feel any better about him being out there.

He had some harrowing experiences on the convoy roads and one of the things that helped us get through each subsequent trip was that we prayed together before he left each camp. I don’t know if that helps everyone, but it made us feel better and since my faith has always been important to me, it was one way he and I could share that aspect of my life. I always voiced my faith that he would make it from place to place unharmed, and he said on numerous occasions that he needed to hear me say it out loud to reassure him as well as myself.