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30 Sep 2009
Honoring Lisa- and many thanks to all!
The Roanoke Times did a fantastic two-part spread on my deployment and this blog in the New River Current! What a great reminder of all the people who helped me through this deployment: I may have been just one soldier, but I had an Army of support back in the New River Valley, Virginia, Texas, and nation-wide! First and foremost was Lisa- twenty wonderful years of marriage and truly a hero in this deployment! She ran Cub Pack 145, coached a Lego Team, guided Eric and Ethan through another very successful year in school and their extracurriculars. She continued her multiple part-time jobs at the Christiansburg Recreation center, the Blacksburg Aquatic Center, and volunteer work at Christiansburg Elementary and Middle schools, including the Just Run club and the Reflections art contest. Plus she sent me numerous care packages, each with supplies for 20 or more soldiers, kept me informed on local news, and spearheaded an awesome inspirational banner project: Lisa sent nine vinyl banners specially created by the fantastic folks at Sign A Rama in Christiansburg. These are now on display in one of the main hallways of the Division Headquarters in Basra, seen at least a thousand times a day by passing soldiers.

Thanks to the many gifts and prayers from St Paul United Methodist Church in Christiansburg:

Thanks to the Cub Scouts of Pack 145, with the most well-traveled banner (see my blog post on 14 January, A Banner Year.)

Thanks to the developers, designers, engineers and managers of Automation Creations, Inc. with lots of magnets and keeping in touch as best we could with spotty Internet and phones

Thanks to the Boy Scouts of Troop 42, Eric’s troop under Mr. Gary Brumfield, a veteran and outstanding role model for our youth.

Thanks to the students of Christiansburg Elementary School, for their magnets, picture frames and All-American flag design on their banner!

Thanks to the students of Christiansburg Middle School, for an awesome banner with well-researched inspirational quotes!

Thanks to businesses and employees working at the VT Corporate Research Center, for a great banner and frequent emails

Thanks to the church members and citizens in Little Rock, Arkansas for their banner, where my Aunt, Uncle, Niece, Nephew and families live.

And a big Texas Thanks to my mother, grandmother and the citizens of Abilene Texas for their banner, a huge collection of magnets (with metal surfaces everywhere, decorated magnets were great for hanging photos or just on their own!), and other care packages.

I can never say enough great things about how much Lisa contributed to this effort. I know the Army has awards for soldiers, so I decided to create an award for Lisa! Using a piece of Iraqi marble, I designed the state of Virgina, with a “heart” over Christiansburg, and superimposed this on an outline of Iraq, with a Star (symbol of the US Army) in Basra. Dave Cunningham of Magnificent Woodworkings has a large, powerful engraving laser and engraved my PowerPoint design onto the marble. He has a truly awesome shop! The inscription reads, “For Your Outstanding Support and Tremendous Sacrifices” – there’s definitely only one of these awards, and there’s only one of Lisa!
ACI , Army Deployment , Family , General
posted by  henry at  23:04 | permalink | comments [22] | trackbacks [719]

27 Sep 2009
Arriving home!
The Army booked me on a 7am flight, but with 3 transfers I arrived in Roanoke at 4:30 pm. There’s no finer site than my family greating me, and I had the camera ready as I sped toward the terminal!

Army Deployment , General
posted by  henry at  20:27 | permalink | trackbacks [1269]

26 Sep 2009
Roller Coaster, part 2
The process of moving from Kuwait to the US was grueling- moving all our gear from spot to spot, and then taking everything apart for a thorough customs inspection. We moved on to a lock-down: confined to a small area of camp, waiting 12 hours for our flight. I’ll never complain about arriving at the airport an hour before departure again!

Standing at the intersection of Blackstone Road with Richmond Road: Camp Virginia, Kuwait.

We flew 6.5 hours to Ireland, changed crew and refueled, then flew 7 more hours to Banglor, Maine. The veterans there welcomed us at something like 2am and were amazingly enthusiastic for such an hour! From Maine, we flew a few more hours right outside of Ft McCoy, Wisconsin. We shuttled from station to station, filling out forms, getting medical checks, reviewing our records, and finally were released to fly home, at 3:30 in the morning!

Army Deployment , General
posted by  henry at  20:23 | permalink | trackbacks [4734]

23 Sep 2009
Roller Coaster Ride to Home!
Suddenly, a lot of moving parts and a great deal of luck came together: as the unit redeploys, a dozen of us have been moved up, joining a group of the Brigade’s STB (Special Troops Battalion) to return to the USA! We flew from Tallil to Camp Virginia, Kuwait on a hot C130. In Kuwait, we turned in our weapons and waited a few days for a charter flight home.

Army Deployment , Family , General
posted by  henry at  15:46 | permalink | trackbacks [66586]

20 Sep 2009
287th Redeployment
The 36th Sustainment Brigade is here to assume the logistics mission from the 287th, and that means we’re wrapping things up for our deployment! Since my orders carry me through mid-November, I may be involved in redeploying our unit through October.

At an awards ceremony near our headquarters, I was deeply honored to be presented with a Bronze Star from COL Schmitt, our Brigade Commander. In a future article, I’ll detail some of the changes I participated in, and the accomplishments I saw in our Brigade.
Army Deployment , General
posted by  henry at  11:04 | permalink | trackbacks [244]

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