Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baby Soldiers

It's a strange title for any kind of blog post, but that's what I tend to call some of the boys I see walking around post here.
This morning, I was taking my husband to work and on my way home, I see a young Soldier walking back to his barracks from either the gym or his run. He was in PT (Physical Training) clothes so I know he was just finishing that up. He was looking up in a tree and upon looking closer, I could see that he was picking mangoes and piling them on the ground. This made me cry.
I'm a sentimental slob. I cry at the drop of a hat. Something about this young Soldier picking up mangoes made me cry! I thought of the young boys who go to their first duty stations, sometimes leaving home for the very first time in their lives. I think of Soldiers who are my son's age (26) and realize that some of them have deployed to war 3 or even 4 times. That makes me cry. I move back and forth between sadness and pride. I recognize that some of these young men, and women, join the Army because they wanted to try to make something of themselves and had very few options at home. That makes me proud.
I am reminded of a young Soldier sitting on the curb with his newly issued rifle as my husband's battalion was about to load busses to catch their flight to Iraq. He looked so scared it touched me. I sent Nick over to talk to him.
He was afraid....of flying. He had only flown once in his life, to Hawaii and his first duty station. He wasn't afraid to go to war, but to get on a plane.
Here's a photo of my husband talking to this young man.

I call them baby Soldiers. My husband fusses at me and tells me they are Warriors. I think probably they are both.


USMCWIFE said...

That is a great story, thanks for sharing.

Julie the Army Wife said...

The wives of the young soldiers amaze me too. Like I know when I was 18-21 I think it would have been very hard to go through a deployment. I think about how a lot of their friends are probably starting college and having fun with that and they may be home in a strange place going through their first deployment. I didn't become an Army wife until I was almost 26.

I think they are both too. What brave young people we do have in our country.

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

What is up with me today? This post is making me bawl!

Paula said...

@Julie, right you are! The young wives and sometimes even children of these young men are heroes too. They have to grow up very quickly and a lot of times, very far from home.
@Mindee...Oh my gosh you got me started again! I'm about to walk out the door to a doctor's appointment and I'm trying to NOT mess up my make-up!

Kaycee said...

I think the same thing when I see 18 year old boys on base...only to realize my husband is only 22 and he's been in since he was 18. Getting ready for his 2nd deployment. It's been hard being away from home but I'm proud of him!

Jane said...

Oh my word! You made me cry. The story of the soldier afraid to fly but not to go to war got me. I am so touched by the photo of your husband talking to him!
I love your title because it's exactly what they their mom's at least.

TheAlbrechtSquad said...

Oh my goodness, I'm right there crying with you! What a great picture! I'm the same way, my husband just chuckles at me and hugs me and tells me that they will be okay.

(PS found your blog from USMCwife's blog)