Sunday, August 16, 2009

Active Duty.... again

I'm now in Burbank, California at Home Station for my new unit. I decided to fly down here, rather than imposing on someone to drive me all the way here, and then have to drive all the way back home. Southwest Airlines had a pretty good deal on a one-way flight, and I was able to send several of my large bags back with the unit as they left after Annual Training. That made negotiating the airport a *lot* easier yesterday!

My Active Duty orders for Iraq ended officially on 22JUL09, and on 23JUL09 I was at Summer Camp - West for the past three weeks, on Title 32 active duty orders. Yesterday began my second long stint in the Active Duty Army, and today we have the official farewell for the unit, at the Convention Center across from the Burbank Airport.

It's a bit daunting to be on my way out of the country again (however long that winds up taking).

But the Soldiers in my new unit are great, and I've already been busy over the past three weeks listening to them and praying with and for them. Many of them are very young, while others are close to my own age (though they've all made something of themselves....).

That's one of the things I appreciate about the National Guard -- we've got true Citizen-Soldiers in our ranks, whose service to their Nation and their buddies involves all the same sacrifices as that of full-time Service Members, but which service often seems to be discounted as somehow "less-than" that of 'professional' Soldiers.

From what I can tell, we all bleed the same.

And the families of Reservists, so often at very long distances from the families of other Reservists (and therefore unable to form the kind of community possible for families living on or close to Active Duty posts) seem to bear the same burdens as the families of Active Duty Soldiers, but without the benefit of a community of fellow-sufferers.

I am in awe of their courage and commitment.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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