In a Solder’s Word
I connected with Iva Rose on Facebook via another friend. I am fascinated with Iva Rose and her spunk and enthusiasm for life. It is addictive. But Iva Rose is not like you or me. We get up, drink coffee, watched “The Today Show”, eat a bagel or cereal for breakfast, drop the kids off at school and go to our jobs. Iva Rose does not do that because she is a Sergeant First Class, serving in the army in Afghanistan. I wanted to share her story with all so I asked Iva Rose to be a guest writer this week. Below is the second part of a three part series. So please sit back and enjoy.
“In a Solder’s Words”
What does a Soldier miss the most besides your family & friends? Soldiers rotate out on deployments every other year. Some Soldiers are on their sixth deployments. Others are on their very first. Most of us move from one assignment to another every three years. This summer, I am on move number eleven.
Before Face Book and SKYPE, it was impossible for me to keep up with all the friends that I have made along the way. Through all my moves, Mark 4:35 has become more a reality with each day. “For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” So many times I have seen where the Soldier’s blood family sends ZERO letters, care packages, never calls, nothing. My Dad (WWII veteran) was the only one in my family to ever send letters on a regular basis. Soldiers who come from military families, their families tend to understand how important a letter can be for a Soldier.
So many times, we never hear the words, “Thank you for your service” from our own blood family members. I know that this holds true in my own family. So often, it is our own blood family members that give us the least amount of support and yet, the most grief upon our arrivals home. Soldiers will drive 17 hours solid, pay thousands of dollars to get home, and use all of their vacation days to be with their families. You are so excited just to be home just to have your own blood family act like they could care less. Not all members of the family, but so many are too busy complaining about anything and everything. Instead of a Soldier getting nurturing, inspiration, much needed uplifting, or encouragement after a long deployment; the Soldier has to be the one to pull the family together with their constant drama. So often, we return to our family members that are too busy going about their own selfish lives, forgetting those that defend their very freedoms.
This does not hold true for all service members but there are so many out there that it does. I see it every day with some of my young Soldiers. This is where a true leader comes in to provide that support that the young Soldier never receives from home. We learn those serving beside us become our families. We learn that the different congregations all over the world doing God’s Will, they are our true families. Now that I am married, I finally have a family and someone that loves me to come home to.
After September 11, 2001: our hours increased to 12 hours a day, weekends, and so many holidays missed. This puts a true strain on friends and relationships. What does a Soldier miss? Time to relax. We don’t need to drive all other the state because someone has planned this or planned that without consulting us. If our loved ones really love us, let them come to us.
During deployments, beside my husband—–I have missed my congregation, church services with my congregation, and fellowship with my congregation. I miss hot water, wearing civilian clothes, wearing make-up, jewelry, bubble baths, my cats, eating in nice restaurants, eating anything that I want, going to the movies, shopping, restaurants, driving my car, driving my truck, weekends off, cooking, and cleaning my house. I miss grocery shopping. I miss sitting on the couch, falling asleep on the couch, watching Classic Turner movies, watching chick flicks, walking in the parks with my Husband, and driving down old country roads with hm. I miss space, a double bed, fresh air, clean water, and quiet nights without super big jets flying over your beds shaking the little B-huts that you live in. I miss having privacy, regular TV commercials, internet systems that actually work, and being able to download a picture in a few seconds instead of 24 hours to download one over here in Afghanistan.
Besides your faith what inspires you to continue day by day? Knowing that I have a career that is serving a bigger cause than self inspires me. We, in uniform, do our best to live by the seven Army values. When you put the first letter of these values together, it is the acronym for leadership (LDRSHIP). My Soldiers inspire me to be the best example possible. JOY keeps me going (Jesus-First, Others-Second, and Self-Last).
This article and its contents are strictly just my opinions and are not any official endorsements, opinions, or statements of the US Army. I love serving our country and will continue to do so for as long as I can.
20 February 2011
Sergeant First Class Iva Rose Patterson-Cavanah