Thursday, September 14, 2006

Iraq Deployment phase II

"Leaving on a jet plane- will miss u very much- will try my best to keep in touch. Lots of love" That's the text message I received early this morning. As I was getting ready for work, my young friend, an Army nurse, was heading off to war. 1 year stationed at a Baghdad hospital caring for our son's and daughters as they fight George Bush's war.

Many of the 2672 dead American soldiers and nearly 20,000 wounded members of the military have passed through those hospitals in Iraq. What will my young friend see? How will her heart and her spirit survive these horrendous images that will surely stay with her forever? I know for sure that the dedication and professionalism of the medical teams will keep many alive who might not have survived.

I spoke to her earlier this week to send hugs from California for a safe journey and to hear her voice. She sounded optimistic and nervous and very much that she had a job to do. I'm not sure I offered her much comfort, but that had been my plan.

My young friend, she knew Ken; she was who he planned to spend his first week at home after his Iraq deployment. She would be his decompression, his soft place to land and if needed she would have watched him sleep for the week, as long as they were together. That didn't happen, of course.

As my young friend faces this journey into hell, I remind her that I am doing everything I can to bring the troops home, sooner than later. She knows of my activities, she tells me she appreciates that.

Her mother has already seen her two sons deploy to that part of the world. The brothers returned safely, and now her daughter? I cannot imagine.

Ken and his band of angels will be watching over her, I know that for sure, too. But really, isn't it time to bring all the troops home now?


Chancelucky said...

If I recall correctly, one of the undertold stories of this war is the number of medical personnel who have been killed or wounded. One of the techniques has been to move the field hospitals closer to combat areas so they can improve response times and save lives faster. This puts the medical folk at greater risk but greatly increases the chance that wounds get treated at critical times.

The other group that is getting killed in larger numbers than in the past is journalists, but that's for an entirely different reason.

That may have come out wrong. I wish your friend who was also Ken's friend well. I think those of us here at home don't really know how much courage is involved in playing a medical role in this war.

pogblog said...

It's so heartbreaking. I wish these brave young folks could be working at clinics in Appalachia instead of this preemptive war.

I can only hope and hope Safe, journey, safe return.

Chancelucky said...

Meant to ask. There was a very good article in Sports Illustrated about Pat Tillman two weeks ago. A good part of the article was devoted to the changes in the rules around reporting casualties due to friendly fire, etc.

I know you were very active in this and had your own experience with the Pentagon's misreporting the circumstances of your son's death. Was Sports Illustrated's description of the aftermath accurate?

I assume they tended to make the Tillman family bigger players in the story than they may actually be for dramatic effect, but what comes across is that the Pentagon was perfectly content to make an incredibly painful experience even more painful for the family for the sake of public relations.

GSMSO said...

Hey Chance-

2 points- I haven't heard of a greater risk for medical staff in Iraq and I follow casualties pretty closely. That doesn't mean it isn't true. As for journalists- we KNOW that to be true...sigh...

I couldn't find the SI story on Pat Tillman, although I did read the article about his friend Russ Baer. It is very strange to read a story about Pat recognize stories that his mother has told me. As we Gold Star families get to know each other better, we feel as if we know the sons, too, although we never met them.

For the record, I do have to say that there has been only 1 or 2 stories out of the hundreds that have been 100% accurate about Ken.

Please send/post the link to the SI story you read. I'd like to see their viewpoint on the aftermath; I'll be happy to comment.

Chancelucky said...

I don't know if the story is online, I have it in hard copy and would be happy to mail it to you the old fashioned way.

to be clear the greater risk to medical personnel is compared to medical personnel in earlier wars. It's not relative to other groups deployed there.

If Mr. Pogblog sees this, maybe she can give me your snail mail adsdress.