It's hard to believe that it's been a year since I posted the question, in the form of lyrics of a song from "Rent"..."how do you measure a year?"
How do you measure a year of your life? Time you consider well spent but...difficult. We found out that there are many ways, indeed: in cups of coffee, in missions completed, in bitching sessions, in calendars marked with an 'x' at the end of the day. Time alternatively moved quickly and stood still.
It's been two weeks now since I said difficult and heartfelt farewells to the Soldiers of the 211th MPAD at the Philadelphia airport. It was time to move along...people were happy to get to their gates and wait for their flights and get back to their spouses, children, family, friends and their lives. Most of these Soldiers will not return to the 211th...they were "cross-levels", i.e. we borrowed them from other units throughout the Army Reserve. That's a sad thought but I also know that Army Public Affairs is a small world. I will cross paths with many of them, either on another deployment or just at a conference or even in an e-mail string.
What did we have during this deployment? We didn't have magic, or perfection. Nobody will make a "Band of Brothers" or "Saving Private Ryan" movie on the mission of the 211th. But what we had was good and strong...through the tough times, through the arguments, through the pizza/movie nights, through the heat, through the endless walks to the dining facility, PX, showers, and latrines, we had a family. The kind of family that frustrates you and sometimes makes you want to throw things, but in the long run, a family that sticks together and sticks up for one another. The kind of stable Army unit that stumbles through missions but works hard to emerge on the other side with experience and knowledge to use later. Honestly, if I had known then what I know now, I wouldn't change a thing. Okay, maybe a few things. :)
Deployments are tough, on Soldiers, on Families, on friends. We hung in and saw this long deployment to the end...through training, through many holidays, through redeployment. It's been a long road but we have reached the end. This is my last post...sadly...I will miss writing here! Farewell, 211th MPAD. Best wishes always. MAJ D.