Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Re-deployment Training at Zeimer

Although it's still a ways off, our redeployment to the States requires a good deal of preparation. As others will soon be accounting for equipment, vehicles, etc., my role in this preparation includes conducting briefings for all of our Soldiers. Over the next three weeks, the topics I will cover range from the sober--suicide prevention and awareness--to the humorous--highlights and lowlights of Soldiers' combat experiences. Quality demands that these briefs and discussions take place in small group settings--ideally, one platoon at-a-time. As spread out as our Soldiers are, this will take a while. After these topics are covered, it will take another few weeks to address the even more delicate issues related to reunion with family and life back home.
There are several reasons why those who have experienced combat choose not to discuss it with their loved ones back home. Most often, Soldiers explain that others will not be able to relate. Some explain that they're uncertain how others would react, and don't want to be judged. Quite a few acknowledge that some of what they've experienced they wish they could forget--so why would they talk about it with spouses, parents, or friends? My approach is to explain that it is always going to be easiest to discuss these events amongst ourselves. A single name of a place or a person conjures countless mental images and emotional responses--much can be communicated, though little is said. However, this is a cop out. Bonding with others always requires effort. Everything of great value comes at great effort. Our family and friends are worth the effort it takes to share. It takes effort to give the back story; it takes patience--both to find the words and to listen.


Brooke said...

Nathan, thanks for your insights on the difficulties of coming home from war. We here in the U.S. often think that it would just be an easy, happy thing. We don't think about all the emotional baggage our soldiers may bring home with them. I hope I am more sensitive now. I always learn so much from you.

Eve...Maeva Design said...

Hello, thank you so much for this beautiful blog. I am in the process of learning everything I can on military work as I am using my ministry to honor soldiers in a special way. I want to get to know soldiers so I can understand your situation better and your blog was fantastic! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! It is nice to find religion-military mix together!!! You are the first blog I was reading, interesting God-incidence :) Continue your great work!!!

Have a blessed day!