So as I mentioned previously we had 18 months between deployments to Iraq. While Kevin was gone for much of it, we tried our best do do the best we could to spend time as a family and appreciate the time we did have. Sometimes it's hard to do when you have deployment lingering over you, it's even harder when there are so many unresolved issues from the previous deployment but what can you do? We pressed on. We watched many of our friends struggle as well, for our fellow Soldiers and families in 8-10, the cost of the previous deployment was high. Many families were broken, many Soldiers were broken and here we were prepping for another rotation.
We went to a new unit, it was a very hard transition. They didn't have to deal with the same things we had. It was hard for me, I know it was hard for Kevin. We did the best we could. I know I didn't connect to the families or Soldiers the way I had previously, it just hurt to much when I did that. So I stayed away. Looking back I feel bad about that but I know that there wasn't much I could do. Originally the brigade was on orders for a 15 month rotation. Few believed it would actually go that long, but we prepared nonetheless. Kevin and I decided that we would try to plan for R&R to be the lastest we could possibly get. Even if it meant that we would miss it if they shortened the tour, both of us remembered how hard the previous R&R had been.
This goodbye was so different. Everyone stayed with their Soldier, there was no real lingering. I didn't take pics really of anyone else. I cherished every last moment I could with my Soldier. The previous time we said goodbye, I would not cry in front of Kevin. This time the tears flowed freely. I was angry this time, I had to share Kevin with his Soldiers. He'd stay with us a few minutes and then go check on his Soldiers or go find some paperwork. I felt cheated and annoyed.
Finally it was just us...Kevin told me I could go, but I wouldn't, I needed to spend every last possible second with him that I could. The boys needed to be with their daddy.
Finally the white buses pulled up and it was time to go. I wasn't ready but I had no choice. Everywhere around me families were sobbing. I had a good cry and then the boys and I went home. This wasn't our first, probably wouldn't be the last, we could get through and we would..one day at a time.
The biggest challenge with this deployment would not be the combat aspect but in dealing with the people within our own unit. I'm an honest person so I am not going to pretend that every unit we have ever been with has been the best, this has been the worst. There were good individuals in the unit but I have to say that there was no unit cohesiveness and there were many internal problems. I won't go into all of them because that is not what my blog is about but I will mention what I feel is pertinent to us.
The first couple months weren't so bad but then Kevin got a new LT in his platoon. All I will say about her is that I think her parents would be ashamed (or I would hope they would be) about her behavior and her actions. I can't even type about her without my blood pressure going up. Having a leadership team that has contention is never a good thing in a platoon and sadly that is what happened. It made for a very stressful tour for Kevin and for me since I had the privilege of being the one who listened to all the problems. I am not one of those wives who thinks my Soldier is perfect, I am aware he makes mistakes and he will be the first one to tell you that he has. That said, there was turmoil in this platoon. I have never been as disgusted over Soldiers as I was with some of the Soldiers in his platoon and their need to please a female over someone who went to bat for them and cared for them. I also am disgusted with the leadership who knew, acknowledged and let her continue.
This tour was hard on Kevin and on me, I felt helpless. Because we had a later R&R date, we had 10 months of time to get through before he would come home on a break. That time crept by. Everyday for him got worse in having to deal with the internal platoon problems.
On Valentine's Day, I think we hit rock bottom. Kevin was involved in an accident. I am still hurt by the actions of his entire unit in regards to that situation, his LT preyed on it and made it a bigger issue then necessary. I had no support whatsoever from his unit. I was angry and hurt and I felt helpless because my husband was over 7000 miles away and I could not take care of his emotional or physical needs.
I only let a few people know about that situation, I didn't trust anyone, I felt very alone. My husband felt very alone. We still had 6 weeks before he would be home for R&R. We didn't know how we could make it until then.
Finally...my love came home on R&R, we were together again...we could take care of each other...