Sunday, December 29, 2013

Prosecuting….the War on Terror?  The Docket deployed.

The big news for Docket Dynasty is that I am headed for Afghanistan.  No I’m not kidding.  Being a prosecutor and crusading against darkness and evil while juggling law school student loans on public servant pay just wasn't challenging enough.  I have therefore remained a member of the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, known as “JAG” for short.  It really isn't much like the old television show at all, though I believe I may be even more rakishly handsome than David James Elliott.  Yeah, I know…

I hesitated to post this as I don’t always know how to deal with the usual responses which range from “thank you for your service” to “Don’t go, can you get out of it?” (You’re quite welcome and No.).  I’m not doing anything that a half-million other troops haven’t done.  I don’t think myself “special”.  I’m just another guy doing his job…that happens to be in Afghanistan.  This fact will obviously change the character of my posts.  I don’t yet know exactly what I’ll be doing or if I’ll be able to post at all.  I do know that I will very likely be depressingly safe.  Yes, depressingly safe.  You see, I started my Army life as an Infantryman… a steely-eyed killer...a predator seeking America’s enemies…well, okay, I was just a grunt, but grunts are in the fight.  Though still a Soldier, my job now is that of a lawyer.  “Safe” in a combat zone is relative of course, but rather than firing my weapon and taking ground in the war against terror, I shall be reduced to an angry signature on various legal documents.   That stings a little.

From my family’s perspective, what I am most certainly going to be is GONE.  Not here.  Not gone for a minute.  Not gone for the weekend.  Gone.  This is the most difficult part for me.  It is not likely the most difficult for them.  I will have “three hots and a cot” and the camaraderie of a few thousand similarly situated brothers and sisters at arms, all of whom are willing to come to my aid and I theirs should the need arise.  Meanwhile, my lovely bride still has to cook dinner for everyone and get them to sports, music, church and school activities by herself, all while wondering if I’m okay (I will be) and whether I've told her everything ( I haven’t).  Furthermore, as a Reservist’s wife, she won’t have the usual complement of resources readily available to the families of my active-duty brethren.  Though I may covet your prayers, I covet them for my wife and family most.  If you really want to support your Troops, find a way to support their spouses.  If you’re inclined to ask, when she says “we’re fine”, help her anyway.  Nothing allows the Troops to focus on the mission like knowing their families are well taken care of in their absence.  I am learning the humility of need in ways I hope to remember.

Though still at home, the insanity has begun.  I think deploying Reservists are inherently schizophrenic.  The Soldier is ready to go and begin the mission.  The husband/father is already missing everything that hasn't happened yet.  The prosecutor is reluctantly handing off cases for others to work.   If I dwell on it much, my eyes leak.   I’m ready.  Lets get this thing going.   In the meantime, I hope to have the means and opportunity to regale you with what I’m assuming must be “one-of-a-kind” stories from the combat zone.  Here’s to 2014.  I hope it’s the fastest year ever!  

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