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Dodging a Bullet--Another Update by fleur_de_lis

As I have done in the past, I am giving all of you my personal perspective on the military career of my daughter. She returned home in May, a year and a half ago, from a tour in Iraq. In the meantime, she has continued to work as a full time Army National Guard soldier at the Omaha armory. Obama's recent decision to deploy more troops to Afghanistan has certainly caused a flurry of preparations for her unit, they will be deploying again, but this time she will remain at home and be the liason between families and deployed troops. I am so thankful that she will not have to leave us again. Pray for our brave men and women in the armed forces.
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Full Circle--Last Update by fleur_de_lis

Hundreds of motorcyclists, thousands of flags, posters, and yellow ribbons, rivers of tears, joyous smiles, loving and excited family members, and plenty of politicians greeted our girl when she stepped onto the tarmac along with 180 of her fellow soldiers. Our daughter is back from her deployment to Iraq. She arrived home 3 weeks ago and is beginning to settle back in to civilian life. It takes awhile for some of the soldiers that have been away from home for such a long period of time to get used to things and to get back to normal. Each one copes in his/her own way. For my girl, that just happens to be avoiding people and crowds as much as possible as well as keeping close track of her army buddies on a daily if not hourly basis. We have heard a few war stories, looked at her photos, awards, and medals, and tried to keep the stress out of her life as much as possible. Next week she will be moving back to her own home after her brief stay with us, and then going back to work after a...
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Back in the USS, back in the USS, back in the USSA! Update 12 by fleur_de_lis

( With apologies to the Beatles), our daughter is back in the USA!!! Whoopee! Yahoo! Hooray! We heard from her at noon today, and they are at Ft. Bragg. Not all of them have arrived yet, and there will be paperwork and demobilization processes to go through, but it looks like in a week she will be DONE for good, and the process of reintegrating into civilian life can begin. As soon as she deplanes in Lincoln, NE, we will be able to gather her into our arms and take her home with us--it's been a long time coming. I only hope the changes she has gone through in the past year will strengthen her and not hinder her. It is a tough life for a woman, and especially a mother (not anything she expected to have to do when she joined the National Guard so many years ago, before war loomed on the horizon). I am so looking forward to returning to normal! Pray for our brave men and women in the armed forces.
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Waiting for the other shoe to drop...Update 11 by fleur_de_lis

As I write this I am hoping and praying that my daughter is out of Iraq and in Kuwait. For several days now, they have been living in tents with nothing to do but wait for their flight out. Boredom has really set in, especially since sand storms have pretty much confined them to quarters. They were supposed to be home for good by this weekend, but of course that is now out of the picture. In Kuwait they will also have to wait for a flight home, and then they will have a few days at Ft. Bragg for demobilization. Hopefully we will see them the middle of May. I haven't heard from her today but I am told that no news is good news! It means that they are on their way--we shall see. Pray for our brave men and women in the armed forces.
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Happy, happy, joy, joy! Update 10 by fleur_de_lis

Oh yeah, our girl is home from Iraq for a 15 day leave! I've already spread the news around various blogs, but I couldn't resist doing a short post on it anyway! It was not easy getting from there to here--it took her 52 hours from the time she set foot on the plane at Tallil to the time she set foot in the house. No motels to sleep in, no showers, no changes of clothing. And everything went smoothly! Some soldiers returning home for leave must spend 3 or 4 days waiting for a flight out of Kuwait. Their leave, fortunately starts when they get home, so the delays and long trips don't count towards it. We have been treated to a few war stories, and lighthearted chit chat about her experiences, but none of it too deep yet. You can tell she is focusing on family, and the joys of being home--milking every minute for what it's worth. That's what we want, and that's what she needs. So many of the things we take for granted are so precious to her now. Milk (theirs is the...
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Update 9--Life in Iraq by fleur_de_lis

My daughter has been in Iraq for a couple of months now, and their lives are gradually taking on some sort of routine. She is stationned on a base in southern Iraq and will probably be there until next June at least --maybe later. We have begun to establish our communication lines, and so I thought I would share a little of what our experiences with a deployed soldier are. Communication: In some ways, this is very hard for me to write about. We chat online, we talk on the phone a couple of times a week, we have a webcam set up, cards and packages are constantly on the move, but everything is on the surface. She won't talk about work, she won't talk about herself much, she won't communicate anything that goes too deeply, and in the few times she has, it has not been good for any of us--so we keep it on the surface. This section of an email may explain why. She writes: "I haven't been sleeping well the last couple of nights, I don't know what the problem is. Hopefully...
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Into Iraq--Update 8 by fleur_de_lis

For those of you who don't know, my daughter is a member of the Army National Guard. In my previous updates I have filled you in to some small extent on the process of saying goodbye to a deployed soldier. It is not easy, and it has just gotten much worse. Her unit has spent the last couple of weeks in Kuwait doing some more training exercises and field work. She has become close acquaintances with sand fleas, rats, porta-potties, mres, tent living, blast furnace heat, sand storms, and other primitive conditions that make you sick at heart. But at least she was relatively safe. I won't hear from her for a couple of days as they will be moving into Iraq momentarily, and they will be in a very dangerous zone. Something I didn't quite prepare myself for. I haven't eaten, slept, or accomplished anything at all today, but I've done a lot of pacing, and cried a few tears. Thank God for my Marine husband who was in the worst of Vietnam and can help me understand. Thank God...
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Battle Rattle--Update 7 by fleur_de_lis

Training prior to heading over to Iraq is no picnic--you might call it Super Boot Camp. Soldiers are in full uniform (battle rattle) in the NC summer (temps in the mid-90's and humid) wearing their Kevlar and toting their weapons. For the gals, the vests can add 50+ lbs. to their weight.They've been out in the field, living in tents that usually house around 16 soldiers. True, the tents are air conditionned, but when the sun hits, that doesn't help a lot, and they train outside most of the day anyway. They have done marches/runs of one and two miles, followed by PT, at times with weapons and Kevlar. They have slogged through marshes and forests in the middle of the night to practice finding coordinates.The showers are like those you see on MASH, the food is so -so, but always MREs for lunch. Weapons qualifications are a big priority, so time is spent on the firing range. Gas masks, gas chamber, live fire, mock simulations in an Iraqi village, language lessons, cultural info...
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My American Daughter--Update 6 by fleur_de_lis

My American daughter wears combat boots instead of high heels. She carries an M-16 instead of a purse. My American daughter wears grime and dust on her face instead of lipstick and powder, she wears a uniform instead of a skirt. My American daughter drives a truck in a war torn country instead of a car to baseball practice. My American daughter has left for Iraq-- head high, eyes distant, brave and courageous. We, her loving family are so proud of her and her fellow soldiers, for the sacrifices she is making to serve her country. But my tears flow, my heart breaks and I am red, white, and very blue.... Yesterday we said farewell to the Army National Guard 600th Transportation Co. in Lincoln, Nebraska at State Fair Park. The motorcade from Camp Ashland went through the small town of Ashland on its way to the formal ceremony and we trailed behind it. It has been a long time since I have seen such an outpouring of support for our troops. People of all ages lined the streets waving flags and...
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8 Days and Counting--Update 5 by fleur_de_lis

Our daughter leaves a week from Sunday. Lots to do between now and then to tie up loose ends-- move out of her house, rearrange her boys' lives, say goodbye to everyone. She will be in state for a couple of weeks and be able to spend Memorial Day with us, but will fly out for Ft. Bragg the next day, and then on to Iraq a couple months later. Something you might not know about long term deployments is that prior to separation from their families soldiers go through a distancing process. They become remote, uncommunicative, and tend to push their families and loved ones away. This is not because they don't love their families and won't miss them terribly--it's a mental process that prepares them for their mission and makes it possible for them to cope with their upcoming separation and focus on the months to come. But even understanding what is going on doesn't make it any easier to see. Pray for our brave men and women in the armed services.
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(A very quick) Update 4--Scrambling by fleur_de_lis

We are scrambling, no longer in limbo, what used to be in the distant future is now only days away. Our daughter got word that she will report for duty on May 20, much sooner than we thought. They will be cutting their training short and possibly be on their way to Iraq in June. Pray for our brave men and women in the armed services.
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Deployment to Iraq--Update 3 by fleur_de_lis

FOUR FREEDOMS We are all in limbo here concerning our daughter's deployment to Iraq. No firm dates have been set and our first idea that it might be the end of May or the first part of June might not be so. Everything is being done to prepare them, however. I just recently spent a month at my daughter's house when she went to California for some specialized training so the grandson could get back and forth to school. The month was so looooong for us. I can't imagine how 1 1/2 years will be! It was a little mini-practice for us, hopefully we will do better for the real thing. Last weekend the local tavern gave her a going away party complete with dj, penny pitchers, a large banner that said "We're gonna miss you ***", a t-shirt for everyone to sign, patriotic decorations, and red, white, and blue jello shots! Small towns are always very proud of their local military sons and daughters and show them lots of support in many, many different ways. This weekend they got shots, updated medical...
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Support Our Troops Challenge by fleur_de_lis

Update 2 During the month of March I will be staying with my 9 year old grandson while my daughter goes for some specialized training in California preparatory to her deployment to Iraq at the end of May. They live 65 miles away, so it's not far, but I will miss my own home! At the Family Readiness Briefing a couple of weeks ago we were given a template to use for the teacher and school of our military kid. It explains some of the changes that the student may go through during the absence of their deployed parent and here is part of it: "...you may notice some behavioral, emotional or academic changes. Emotionally he may be angry, sad, or anxious or may be hiding anything that is bothering him. Academically, he may find it difficult to concentrate which may cause his grades to dip." Although I am hoping none of this will happen it's best to be prepared for all eventualities. I plan on visiting his classroom and maybe even teaching a little art lesson to his class. I did that last fall...
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Four Freedoms by fleur_de_lis

FOUR FREEDOMS We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want...everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear...anywhere in the world. -President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Message to Congress, January 6, 1941 This speech so inspired artist Norman Rockwell that he created a series of paintings using the Four Freedoms theme. The images were publicly circulated when The Saturday Evening Post commissioned and reproduced them. They were later used as the centerpiece of a massive U. S. war bond drive and were put into service to help explain the war's aims. Update 1 Deployment to Iraq is looming for our daughter who is a full-time Army National Guard soldier. She is a divorced Mom of two sons, one is 9 and the other is 2. The oldest boy will stay with us and the youngest...
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