Thursday, June 26, 2014

Military men come with a lot of baggage

I don't mean emotional baggage, I mean literal baggage and stuff.

If you are new to this military life you may not see it yet, but give it a few years, a couple PCS' and maybe a deployment or two and trust me you will.

My brother has been in South Carolina, Texas, Germany, Iraq, Germany, Texas, Iraq, Texas, Missouri-along with being in 4 different National Guard units- and Afghanistan. Over the years I can't tell you how many different bags and footlockers have been left behind at our house.

Be ready to give up space (and be ready to stub your toe on a footlocker and almost pass out from the pain) when ever he comes around. My brother owns his own home and we STILL have at least 4 footlockers in our basement from his first deployments. DO NOT OPEN THEM...They don't smell good.

With all this stuff...remember it gets moved at some point. You know who gets volunteered to move the sibling. I've helped my brother and his wife move 4 times. To Ft. Leonardwood (twice), to my house in St. Louis and to their new home. Let me just say you have no idea how much stuff you accumulate until you pack up a 10 year military career. Footlockers EVERYWHERE!

Be ready to use muscles you've never even knew you had and prepare for it to poor down rain or be a million degrees every time. You should probably hope and pray you have an OCD sister in law like I do who had everything packed and ready to go weeks in advance.

Also remember that the move means one thing...he isn't in a war zone and he is going on to new opportunity :)

Stay safe y'all

Monday, June 9, 2014

All about my KIA Braclets

I get asked a lot from strangers and friends about my KIA bracelets. Most people really didn't know what they were and I guess people thought they didn't make them anymore. Well they do and I wear two for very different, yet very similar reasons.

The first KAI bracelet has more of a personal connection. Not because I knew him, but because he was someone who my brother remembers. My brother deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 as a Medevac Medic, and on 7 Aug 2012 his Blackhawk got the call of some injured Marines needing evacuation. HM2 Clayton Beauchamp was Navy but was with a Marine Regiment. He was injured when his patrol was struck with IED's. My brother was one of the medics to respond and he took Beauchamp in his helicopter, he sadly didn't make it home. When I told my brother I wanted a KAI bracelet but wasn't sure whose to get, Clayton Beauchamp was the first name he gave me. All my brother really said was he was helping his guys when he was injured, and that it was one of the hardest days his DUSTOFF group had experienced.

My other bracelet is more of an inspiration, to remind me of the person to be like. Jon Tumilson was a Navy Seal who was killed when Extortion 17 was shot down. I didn't know much about him until I read Service by Marcus Luttrell (good read, gave me a better understanding of what my brother went through) and every time he was mentioned it was nothing but great things. He was always willing to help others, was an amazing friend, man and SEAL, and he never quit. To me he is the definition of a hero. It's hard to explain why I decided to wear his name, but to me he is one of those people whose name should never be forgotten. I didn't know him, I've never met his friends or family but the more I found out about him the more I realized that I would love to be just a percentage of the person he was. This article describes it better, and I think after reading it you would totally understand why I would get a bracelet in honor of JT. I think this quote from a fellow SEAL describes best what inspires me about him "But once he set a goal, there was no stopping him." I have always been one of those people that looked at my big dreams as being impossible something I would never achieve. It forces me to fight for what I want, I think its impossible to be a quitter or a complainer wearing his name. I wear his name because he is an example of what a good person is and who people should aspire to be like.

I look at both of these names everyday, not a day goes by that I don't see them shining at me. Wearing these reminds me how lucky I am to live in the United States, where people are willing to stand and fight in my place. It reminds me why I've worked so hard in school, reminds me that my dream of helping veterans is truly where I want to be. They push me to fight for that dream and that goal. I know those men sacrificed for me and I'm going to live my life to honor them and all those who paid the ultimate price.

They represent heroes.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

POW release, Prisoner swap, and what we should really be talking about.

Okay so I've already been on my soap box today on Facebook about this subject. I thought I would share it on here too.

First and foremost let me just say its great for his family to have him home, but I think there is a lot more to this story than anyone knows. I have followed this story for a while, but I obviously don't have first hand facts. I think there is a lot of explaining that needs to be done with this. And I also don't really see how the Taliban get 5 pretty big guys for 1 man but whatever.

That's all I'm going to say opinion wise of this event. My real issue here is the fact that 2 US Soldiers will killed in action in Afghanistan this week. In the last 7 days two heroes, two sons and brothers were killed and there has been no mention except from the DOD and their local area papers.

There is a wife who is now a widow, 2 sets of parents who have lost a dear son, and siblings left with a missing piece. They are all left behind to pick up themselves up and move forward, but I don't know if there is a moving forward after a loss like that or starting over. While all the media outlets are talking about a prisoner swap, and saying Bergdahl is a hero or a traitor, or goodness just talking about what this celebrity or the celebrity is doing there are families whose world fell apart.

In the last month, we have had two other service members killed in Afghanistan and another killed in Jordan in a training accident. This past Friday there was a training accident at Fort Bragg. This incident I heard nothing about until I was on the Military Dad Facebook page.

Throughout this story there have been numerous stories about the men who were killed while searching for Bergdahl. I think the best way to honor them is to keep their names alive, and the names of other veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice. To remember the families left behind and make sure they are taken care of and to always remember those who are still overseas.

So tonight remember the names of the fallen: That is 6 in the last month. Names that haven't been all over the news, the families were not given time with the President, and weren't able to talk to the media about how amazing their loved one was.

Capt. Jason B. Jones, of Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania
Pfc. Jacob H. Wykstra, 21, of Thornton, Colorado
Spec. Adrian M. Perkins, 19, of Pine Valley, California (non combat related)
Command Sgt. Maj. Martin R Barreras, 49, of Tucson, Arizona
Chief Warrant Officer Deric M. Rasmussen, 33, of Oceanside, California
Sgt. Shaina B. Schmigel of Medina, New York (killing in training at Fort Bragg)

I personally wear KIA bracelets for CPO. Jon Tumilson (Navy Seal killed in the Extortion 17 Helicopter that was shot down) and one for HM2 Clayton Beauchamp (Navy corps man, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012. My brother was on the Medevac helicopter that picked him up)

So in times like these, rather than talk about the controversy talk about the heroes. Take time to honor the fallen, and pray for those remaining.

This video shows the pain of these losses and those who have to pay for the price of war.