Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When They Don't Wake Up

I wish I could begin this post with the past week's play-by-play in The Big Apple with Shana.

Instead, I will start that on Wednesday.

I woke up this morning to several emails and text messages from friends and family who were concerned about Neal and asking if I had talked to him. I hadn't read the news yet but I dug my laptop out of the suitcase swiftly...panicked and anxious. 5 dead after a rocket attack in central Iraq. The news story was wired out of Baghdad. Oh God. I paced the house and breathed deeply until my phone rang. It was Neal and he was his typical relaxed, jovial self. We talked about my last day in New York and the flight home. We discussed our upcoming R&R and what he had been doing all day. And I thanked God a hundred times over for those 45 minutes.

I started this blog because so many readers were asking for a peak into our lives...to have the opportunity to know a Soldier and his family and the ups and downs during a deployment. As I sit in the dark of my living room, typing this and digesting 3 hotdog buns, a dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and several brownies (because eating feelings is so much more productive than actually feeling them), I am reminded of why deployments are not the same as a 12-month holiday to the desert. CNN and Fox News are pushing the story that Iraq is a ghost town...that there are a few thousand troops left and they are just there for training and advisory purposes. Any deployment to Iraq is a year of paid vacation. The attack on Camp Victory proves otherwise. Those Soldiers were in their quarters, their "CHU"...they were sleeping. They were mortared in their beds. They never had a chance. It's not about letting your guard down for a second or making the wrong decision...they were in the middle of our most basic human need. To attack someone while he is asleep is cowardly and unforgivable. And it makes my stomach turn to think that it even happened...much less that Camp Victory is a major base just north of Baghdad and of Neal.

I just ask that you will stop sometime today and say a prayer for the families of those Soldiers. When we know their names, then we will also know that each one has been visited by the casualty officer...the Angel of Death. And unless we have walked in those shoes, we can never know how devastating it can be. May God bless our troops and the U.S.A.


  1. Amen to that. Thanks for a heartfelt post that reminds us again to look behind the headlines. And thanks again to you and Neal for your service and sacrifice.

  2. When Thomas was last in Iraq, he was mostly at Victory. It gets shelled pretty much every day. There is NO SAFE SPOT ANYWHERE THERE!!! Period. Ditto for Afghanistan.

    I'm sorry you went through a scare. It sucks and I know exactly what you went through. Say your prayers and do your best to shake it off. It's really going to be OK. Hugs!

  3. "There is NO SAFE SPOT ANYWHERE THERE!!! Period."

    This is SO true. Some of my Air Force friends were stationed at Cam Ranh Bay during the Viet Nam War... er..., Police Action... and they would tell me about how the Viet Cong would fire mortar rounds into the air force base there...

    Imagine, however, having had a loved one land at Omaha Beach 67 years ago yesterday... After all of these years, there still isn't an official death toll. The current figure is about 4,200 killed on that day, although some estimates go as high as 9,000.

    I hope we never become jaded over the loss of Life of our military.


  4. OMG! I can't begin to imagine how scared you were until your phone rang. Bless your hearts and the hearts of these 5 families that just lost their spouse, child, friend, brother, sister, etc. My heart just aches for all our men and women to be back home. I'm thinking of you and Neal constantly. Much love your way.

  5. I am so glad that Neal is alright!
    My thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this senseless tragedy.

  6. I am so glad Neal is OK and my thoughts and prayers will be with the families and wives and husbands who didn't get the same 45 minute phone call from their loved ones. I hate that tragedy always puts life in perspective for us all, but it does and it's a wake-up call to be thankful everyday for all you have. GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS and the FAMILIES THAT STAND BY THEM and the US CITIZENS that support them each and every day. oxoxo

  7. My heart seriously hurts right now. I'm so glad to hear Neal is ok.

  8. I got chills just looking at that picture.

    I'm glad you posted this...because when you don't deal with this fear every day it's far too easy to forget how real it is for some people.

    I'm very glad that Neal is ok.


  9. Anytime you are a soldier on foreign soil you have to be on the alert! There is a REASON you are there and it's not a vacay. NUTSOS! :(

  10. I am not gonna lie, and this might make me sound like an a$$hole but I secretly HATE it when everybody asks me if I have heard from my husband every time there is a casualty in Afghanistan....its not like he can pick up a phone right away to assure me he is ok, half the time he isnt even aware of the casualty/incident because it was in a different unit or very far away and news hasnt reached him yet...so I personally try not to get too worried if I dont hear from him right away, but with everyone texting/emailing/calling me asking if I have heard from him, it only makes the stress WORSE..it starts to mess with my mind and then I get all worked up for no reason..

    Its difficult because I dont want to sound ungrateful, because I DO appreciate their concern, I know they ask because they CARE, so I have learned to just roll with it...it has definitely gotten better as this deployment has wore on....

    For the non-military gals the best comparison I can think of is all of the unsolicited advice that expectant moms/new mothers get from friends and family...you love them, and know they are only doing it because they care but deep down its making you crazy...haha.

    And so concludes "confessions of a deployed Marine's wife".....

    Anynovel, I am so glad to hear your Neal is A-OK and cool as a cucumber! What a relief!! :)

  11. Thanking God that Neal is safe and sound. ((hugs))

  12. I will continue to pray for his safety, and I'm so sorry that the event happened. I just hate this!

  13. Beautiful post, Ally. I'm so saddened by this news. And you're absolutely right: what a heartless, cruel, and cowardly attack. My heart breaks for all the families.

    Grateful, too, that Neal is safe and sound.

  14. Ally, sometimes I don't know how you keep it together. Always hoping that Neal is far from the action. This war is still very hot and we need to all be less complacent. THanks for reminding us.

    By the way, did that shrub ever do anything? or did you leave Georgia before it had a chance?

  15. I received an email saying "Mom, I'm okay." I am very glad we are able to communicate with them as when we hear from them we feel a momentary peace about them. I am grateful for your posts and your ability to express what so many of the members of this military group feel.

  16. So terribly true... I want to SCREAM every time someone makes a "The Middle East? But those wars are over, we barely have troops there anymore" when I tell them where my brother is.


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