Friday, February 09, 2018


Kyle texted me from drill that his reserve unit will be deployed to South Korea this year. No details yet.

My first thought when Chris said nine years ago"I'm going to join the Marine Corps," was My son is going to die. He didn't, and didn't even go to a place he got shot at. But I just had the thought again. My son is going to die. The odds are well against that for a couple of reasons, yet you still think it.


Donna B. said...

Perhaps most parents of military offspring do think that, yet I never did. When my daughter was deployed to Bosnia in the 90s, I didn't. When her husband was later deployed to Iraq, I didn't -- and by that time, he'd become my son.

Worry? Absolutely. I didn't even recognize my daughter the first time I saw her in full "battle rattle". I did not like that feeling. I was somewhat comforted that I got to see her interact with others in the same training (for Bosnia) and that she and they were certainly competent.

My daughter was very close to re-joining the Army after 9/11, but her husband talked her out of it. He retired from the Army last November and his last year in Saudi Arabia scared me more than his previous tours in Iraq. Honestly, I think that's because I am older and less able to deal with the stress, but I still never thought "he is going to die".

Perhaps that's because I'm a bit superstitious -- think it, and it will happen -- superstitious. Or perhaps it's because of so many generations before me being in the military. Not all survived, not all returned "whole".

I know that one of my cousins had your reaction when her son joined the Marine Corps (following in his uncle's footsteps) and there were no active war zones when he enlisted. I was puzzled by her reaction.

Grim said...

it should be very comforting to realize that you have no gift for prophecy. I had a dream once as a boy that predicted my death; when it didn’t happen as predicted, I was set free from ever having to worry about such dreams again. You are similarly blessed to know that your prophecies mean nothing.

“Men of the East may spell the stars and times and triumphs mark,/
But you and all the kind of Christ go gaily in the dark.”

james said...

On 9/11 my first thought was "This is war" and my second thought was for my youngest son.

Grim said...

I hope that my prior remark did not seem insensitive to your distress. I understand your distress, which is right and proper in a father. I only wanted to cheer you with the sense that this sense is merely distress, and not a premonition or a warning from the universe. Of course you know that, but it's a regular source of comfort to me to be reminded of it.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ Grim. No problem. The jarhead was always more likely to die early by doing something stupid with a car (or other vehicle), and similar things might be said about Kyle. I know that intellectually.

It's the same mentality that causes us to rate airline accidents as more of a danger than cars, because they occur in bunches.

John Galt said...

The thing is...since when do reservists get called up for S. Korea ??? Afghanistan, maybe. Iraq, or even Saudis Arabia?? Perhaps. But since at THIS moment no one is shooting in S. Korea?? Why bring reservists in? Is it because the military can no longer get enough people to volunteer? ( Do we need to bring back the draft?) Or is it that they are getting ready for the big one? I think you are right to be concerned.

Christopher B said...

John Galt - Grim probably knows the history better but since the integration of NG, Reserve, and Regular Army units in the post-Vietnam era, Reserve and NG units have regularly deployed out of country for missions. Lots of Iowa units were sent to Serbia/Kosov back in the 1990s.

AVI - prayers for his safe return.

Grim said...

Lots of enablers have been concentrated in the Reserves. These units provide things like Civil Affairs or Psychological Operations techniques, but end up being operationally controlled by the Regulars who are assigned ownership of the battlespace. They get deployed a lot, if they're in a field that is in high demand. I knew some COMCAM guys in Iraq, Army Reservists, who told me they were thinking of re-enlisting in the regular fleet Marine Corps so they could get some dwell time back home.

Laura said...

@John Galt:

Reservists have been going overseas for training since the 1950's-- there's even a medal for it. (And a two-week deployment is just ordinary training, not anything combat-related). Part of the exercise is getting the active component some practice in deploying and integrating reservists. The "big" exercise in Germany used to be REFORGER-- "REturn of FORces to GERmany". When I was in Korea in the 1990's, we did a similar (although smaller) one every year. We called it "Ulchi Focus Lens"... I understand it's now called "Ulchi Freedom Guardian", and would be taking place in August like usual.


I kinda wish I had my old document files still, as I'm sure absolutely nothing has been fixed since that time. That's the thing about Korea: nothing ever gets fixed, but also, nothing ever stays broken past fixing either. Don't worry, this has nothing to do with the current hoo-haw, as there's a hoo-haw every 6-9 months like clockwork over there. Nobody even remembers the freak-outs from my time-- ramming fishing boats and making them sink, shelling South Korean islands, mini-subs caught in fishing nets, etc. This too shall pass.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ Laura - thank you for your info. Kyle hasn't informed us of the details yet, but he's coming over to dinner tomorrow and we'll likely find out then.

A month in August. If that's what it is I'll certainly stop worrying. He went to Germany for 3+ weeks two years ago and I keep telling him that's not a deployment, that's a vacation.