Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Iraq and Back
I haven't been able to think of things to blog about. We don't have kids at home, so I've wondered what to share. Then I realized I could write volumes about Rick and his military service. So here goes, the first installment, of what may be many, about his Iraqi Freedom experiences, and my feelings while he was away. This will serve as a kind of journal.
Speaking of journals, Rick wrote faithfully, every day in a journal. He didn't write much, just short descriptions of his days. He ALWAYS ended with "God Bless America" and "Good night Wendy, Justin, Otis and Baxter". It makes me cry still to remember the tender feelings we all had during that time.
Rick was put on alert the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, 2004. He was at the Enoch City Offices at a meeting when the call came. What a Thanksgiving that was. We went to Todd and Lorie's for dinner, it was pretty emotional thinking he might be leaving for an 18 month tour in Iraq. While in St. George he and his brothers and some nephews were playing football. Rick must have torn his ham string. He was in extreme pain, didn't go to the doctor, and it was about 6 months before he felt better. All this time he was running on the torn muscle and not letting on that it hurt.
The Triple Deuce was activated and left for training in Mississippi in January 2005. Rick went with the advance party and left January 5, 2005. This started our 571 days of activation, WOW what a long time. I remember seeing his orders and reality finally hitting me, this was going to be a long separation. I remember I almost felt like someone had hit me in the stomach, it really took my breath away realizing it really was happening. You kind of get caught up in the excitement and preparation, but reality does set in and it's not very exciting anymore.
The 222nd spent about 5 months at Camp Shelby, Mississippi training for their tour of Iraq. I was able to spend a few days in Mississippi with Rick in March 2005. It was a beautiful area, lots of trees and pretty sandy beaches. Hurricane Katrina hit Gulfport hard, devastating the coastline and casinos located there. We had a great couple of days, but it was almost not worth the visit, having to leave him there and fly home alone.
Here is a picture of Rick on the Beach in Gulfport, Mississippi, March 2005.