June 07, 2010

Deployment means...

My brother and I last week, on the day he deployed

My brother is somewhere between here and Afghanistan right now.

Next time we see him will be Mid-Tour leave, which could fall almost anywhere in the deployment, but will hopefully fall at Christmas.

If you don't have close family in the military, you might not know exactly what deployment means. It honestly varies, depending on which war you're fighting, your branch, your job, and even when you are deployed. A friend of the family is currently in the same area my brother served in Iraq in 07-08 and his experience is completely different, though he, too, is Infantry.

For my family, deployment means never letting your cell phone go dead. Always having it and the house phone by your side at night. Keeping your cell on your lap when you're anywhere noisy so you don't miss a phone call.

It means answering the phone any time, day or night - even if that means leaving a theatre or a concert or abandoning dinner out to sit on the sidewalk outside the restaurant and talk to your soldier.

It means an anxious relationship with the phone - always hoping to hear from your soldier, never hoping to hear about him from someone else.

It means keeping a clock with Afghanistan time somewhere so you can try to imagine what your soldier might be doing at that moment.

It means staying logged into IM at all times and turning the sound on the computer way up so you don't miss an IM because you're at the other end of the house.

It means cringing every time you read about violence overseas.

It means having people who never had a loved one go to war tell you they know how you feel. And while you appreciate their support, it cuts to have someone compare their situation to sending a part of your heart to war.

It means hearing the National Anthem, tears pricking your eyes and pride swelling your heart, and truly feeling the meaning.

It means living every day on Faith.

It means many things that are, frankly, too personal and sacred to write about in a public forum.

And this doesn't even touch upon what it means to him, to leave his wife and mother and family, to venture into what is inevitably the unknown, no matter how highly trained he is (and be sure, he is highly trained).

But put simply, deployment means that while my brother does his tour, we do one, too.


Joseph Rooks said...


For all the issues I have with the amorphous body of inefficiency and indecisiveness that is "Government,"

I hold in high regard the individual people who are humble enough to serve in the military.

I don't always agree with the things our country does, but I sure do know that if a situation ever came up where we couldn't survive without them, we'd be pretty darn happy that they put themselves where they are.

So, respect.

Anonymous said...


Our heart is with you during his/ the family's deployment. Where is he going to be located? I have mom over there now in the southern zone and I have 2 friends in the northern zones.

It may not be the best way of communication, but perhaps we can work out a way to keep tabs on him in a grapevine sort of way.


p.s. the National Anthem is only one of the great patriotic songs that bring me to tears.

Sarah Enni said...

Much love for this post. It sounds like your brother has a tremendous amount of support at home - not every soldier is so lucky. Keep your spirits up <3

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this moving post. I'm eternally grateful to soldiers like your brother, and also to the families that support them.

The Blue Lipstick Samurai said...

Beautiful post. Love and prayers to you, your brother, your family, to all soldiers; everyone who knows firsthand what deployment means.

Pam Harris said...

Wonderful post. My dad had to go to Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm, so I understand exactly what you're going through--except they were fewer opportunities to contact him back then. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Marquita Hockaday said...

This is a great post, Abby. Thanks for sharing this with us and my thoughts are with you and your family. Also, thanks to your brother for fighting for our country. Again, beautiful post :)

Abby Stevens said...

Thank you ALL for your support and kindness. Prayers are greatly appreciated. It means a lot to me (and my brother, and all our military) to know people care about their sacrifice.

Sarah - He (and I) are very blessed with a large, supportive family. My heart aches for the soldiers who don't have anyone. On his last deployment we sent extra for his battle buddies who didn't get packages very often. My brother was lucky enough to receive packages every week or two while he was over there before, and I'm sure it will be the same (or better, since he now has a wife to send him goodies, too) this time.

Pam - I can't even imagine how hard that must have been. My mom and I talk about that sometimes, how difficult communication must have been during the Gulf War or Vietnam or even WWII. When he was in Iraq we spoke to him at least once a week and usually a couple times a week online. I think it will be less frequent for this deployment, but still better than in the past.

Christie (The Fiction Enthusiast) said...

What a beautiful post! ((Hugs)) for you! As an Air Force wife and the sister of a Marine I know well how painful the goodbyes are. I’m praying for your brother’s safe return.

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