Sunday, April 30, 2006

Missing in action......

Before anyone panics, I'm talking about me, not Seth. I've been missing in action for the past week or so, as I went on a business trip to Paris...and no, not Paris, Texas. It was a very interesting trip...and believe me, alot of the cliches about Frenchies are completely true...... :)

I don't really have time to write much right now, as I just got home at about 0100 yesterday morning...long story...and I'm still trying to readjust to Texas time, but I'll catch you up with a post and some pictures from my trip later this week when I get some time.

In the meantime, here's a link to my dil's (daughter-in-law's) blog. Ya'll go say hi to her. She put up a slideshow of Seth and it makes me laugh every time I look at it. Man, I do miss that boy!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My hero

I have quite a few important men in my life...but the very first one was my dad. I've been thinking alot about him lately because I've been reading his book again. What book you might ask?? I'll explain that later. Anyway, I decided to dedicate this post to him. Besides, it's just possible that hearing about my dad might give you a clue as to where I get my undying patriotism and love for the military.

I have to begin by saying that my dad is my hero...always has been and always will be. I grew up listening to his stories about World War II like they were fairy tales. As kids, we would all sit in the floor around his feet and hang on his every word about the many adventures and misadventures he had. He fought the Japanese on faraway Pacific islands that I'm sure you've read about in history books - Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima. He was a proud Marine and, of course, still is. The saying is definitely true...Once a Marine, Always a Marine! Anyway, through his war stories, we came to know the guys he served with and fought beside - the buddies he kept in touch with after the war, the ones he lost touch with, and the ones who never made it back...and there were quite a few of those. Talking about the war was good for dad, but it was also good for us kids. We grew up with a great respect for our flag and our country, and for the troops who defend it. But there was more to it than that. By talking about his buddies, he kept them alive in his memory and brought them to life in ours. What better way to honor someone than to talk about who they were and what they did.

One of dad's friends was a corpsman named "Doc" Love. He treated the jungle rot on dad's feet in the swamps of Bougainville and was the one who rushed Dad onto a hospital ship after he was wounded at Iwo Jima. Dad probably saved Doc's life on the beach during the Guam landing, though. He bandaged a neck wound that Doc received during a mortar barrage when he left their foxhole to answer the call for a corpsman. Doc made it back after the war and he and dad still keep in touch.

Another of dad's buddies was "Red" Jones, a mean, hard-drinking Irishman who picked fights with anybody and everybody and couldn't hold rank because of that. But Dad said he was the best damn machinegunner he ever met, and when the two of them were together, they were unbeatable. When Red was reassigned to another unit before the Iwo Jima campaign, he was in tears as he begged dad to try to get him back in his squad. He said he didn't think dad would make it without him...that they were a team. In a way, he may have been was wounded at Iwo. Red made it back after the war, but he and dad didn't keep in touch. When dad tried to find him some years later, he found out that he had died in the '50s.

I can't forget Mike Dupnok, the section leader for dad's squad who later became platoon leader when he was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant. Dad said he was quite the Marine and "volunteered" their squad for all kinds of special missions on squad, I mean Mike, dad and Red. Mike was awarded the silver star for heroic actions during the Guam campaign. He was just one of dad's many good friends who didn't make it back...he was killed in action on Iwo Jima the same day that dad was wounded.

As my brothers and sisters and I grew up, we encouraged dad to write everything down so it would never be forgotten and so that his grandchildren and great-grandchildren would know about his experiences. It took quite a while, and several computers, but he finally got everything written in book format. My sisters and I have been adding pictures here and there, and as we get each chapter finished, I've begun sending them to the boys to read. I've been trying to get them to read his book for a while, and now that they're older, maybe they will. I'd like them to know more about the man their grandfather is...while he's still around. I know that they'll be as proud of him as I am.

So you see, when I say I'm a military mom/daughter...I'm not kidding. But I come by it might say it's in the genes...... :)

Love you, Dad.

Saturday, April 01, 2006 a rock

The Milblog Conference has been much on my mind lately. I've even had dreams about it...hahaha. Alot of the people who will be there are the ones I've been reading the blogs of for some time now. These people, all of you out there, have opened my eyes to so much over the past few years and helped me deal with Seth's deployment. You've been my rock.

The military families at home have written about their ordeals and feelings, the laughter and the pain, the ups and the downs of having a loved one in a place where none of us would choose for them to be. We read each other's posts and find ourselves nodding in agreement, laughing about similar experiences, crying with each other when things get tough or scary, and rejoicing when someone's Soldier or Marine returns home. I look forward to reading each blog to see how they're doing, to see how their Soldiers and Marines are doing, and to see if they need extra prayers or encouragement. It's tough to be deployed, but it's also hard on the ones left behind who don't know what's happening to their loved ones. My dad has been in both places now, and he has decided that war is harder on those left behind. When he fought in WWII, he said he was too busy to worry about what was going on, but now that his grandson is deployed, he sees it from where his wife and parents were when he was off at war. I don't know for sure which is harder, but I do know that all of you military families out there in the milblog world have made it easier for me.

The milbloggers who are actually deployed, or have been deployed, have been my saving grace for almost 2 years now. I know that I can always find the truth about what's really going on by reading their blogs. And most of the time, it's the only place to hear any positive news. I roll with laughter when I read the stories of their escapades...and cry with heartbreak when one of them loses a friend. I don't know how many times I've had to set one of my friends straight about something going on overseas by telling them what so-and-so said on his/her blog. All of you have become so important to me and a large part of my everyday life. So much so that I feel like you're part of my family.

Anyway, I wish I could be there for the conference in 3 weeks, but I will be on a plane heading out on a business trip that day. I'd love to meet those of you who have become such an important part of my give you a hug and tell you in person just how much you've come to mean to me...but I guess I'll just have to send my love and best wishes through the milblogosphere, and with a friend who will be there. As a matter of fact, this friend just told me that he was asked to be on one of the panels. That seems so right to me, because his was the first milblog I ever read. He had me riveted to his site while he was deployed, and after he returned, I continued to read about his struggles with readjusting to life in the States. So, you see, if not for him, I would never have found the rest of you. So thanks, Casanova, for introducing me to the milblog world that has become so important to me.

I'll be thinking about all of you milbloggers during the conference this month and wishing I was there...and I'll be anxious to hear all about it in your blogs. Even though I won't be there physically, I will most certainly be there in spirit..... :)