We want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a better New Year, from beautiful Basrah, Iraq. That’s right. While you guys are enjoying a torrential amount of snow, we’ve been blessed to be on the sandy (currently quite muddy actually) beaches of Iraq. We are currently serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and this is our Christmas message to you!
From Dave’s world:
This year I have a lot to be thankful for such as my wife, family, friends, and my health. But not my recruiter, he promised me world travel, and sandy beaches. Little did I know when I signed up over thirty years ago that the sandy beach would be here in Iraq without water? This past year has been filled with highs and lows. My top 10 combined list of highs and lows on deployment. (Low first/high last)
# 10 Low - missing Josh’s graduation from Basic Training
# 9 Low - missing our 22nd wedding anniversary
# 8 Low - missing my Grand baby
# 7 Low - missing my better half
# 6 High - the fact that I’m not out on patrols or the gate
# 5 High - I have a roof over my head and a dry place to sleep
# 4 High - indoor plumbing
# 3 High - sharing this deployment with my niece Jessica
# 2 High - sharing this deployment with my daughter Jacki
And number 1 is being on a deployment with fellow soldiers and our contractor friends who are going through the deployment with us. It’s kind of like the movie “Play it forward”. Sometimes you’re there for your fellow soldier when they are down, and sometimes they are there for you. Sometimes the only thing that can get you through the day is a swift kick in the butt from one of the guys or gals that you work with.
I truly am thankful for my family, and our friends that continue to support us in this barren land so far from home. I’m even more thankful that my last ride with the U.S. Army is coming to a close in 2010. I will never look back at my time and not feel a sense of pride and honor for serving my country. I’m ready for Josh and Jacki to become the next generation of soldiers as I get ready to walk away from my final formation.
Let me just say that what we have back home as Americans is not something that should be taken lightly. Seeing the world up close and personal has me proud to be an American! The next time someone around me talks about how bad life in the states is should come here to learn what life without the good old stars and stripes is all about!
From Jacki’s world:
This year has truly been a unique experience for me. Few 19 or 20 year olds can say that they are veterans of war and few soldiers overall can say they have been privileged to serve alongside their father. I feel honored to have been asked to partake in something that’s bigger than me. I’m 20 years old and I am a part of an elite group of people who put their lives on hold for a year without question or hesitation. It’s a rare and beautiful experience indeed.
I have been provided with a classroom that has limitless boundaries as I have learned lessons that it takes some people a life time to learn. I have learned the immense generosity of the American people, as care packages from people I have never met or from people I have known all my life arrived. I have learned to appreciate the small things, like blue jeans and clean water. I have learned to treasure the moments with family, be it far away in a sandy place or within the realm of Skype. I have learned the value of true and lasting friendship. I have learned that I’m privileged to be an American and to be blessed to have all the opportunities I have.
I have a couple months left here before I start living real life again. I can’t wait to slip on a pair of blue jeans or a dress and heels. I’ve got a whole list of things I’ve been waiting to do. It’s about time I start living like a normal 20 year old, or as normal as it gets for me =]. I’ll be starting college in the fall (destination undecided). I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up (thank goodness I strayed from my first career of choice [grandma clown of all things] way back in the day). I just want to kind of live in the moment for a bit when I get back. Take the time to adjust and to learn to make my own choices again.
My father and I hope that you and yours also had a year worth remembering, too. That good fortune and good health has found its way into your hearts and into your home. Please continue to keep the troops in your thought and prayers as this holiday season comes closer. Prepare for a belated New Years upon our return, in traditional Crotteau fashion.