Do I Make You Proud

By: Balding Eagle | 24 Jun 06


It’s funny, not long along I was asked this very same question by Grey Eagle one night on the phone. “Are you and the boys proud of me” she asked. As the year in Iraq, day by day, chipped away at the woman she was, she sought comfort in the answer, for it somehow made it all worth it.

In reading the article of the returning Guardsmen and in the contact I have with other soldiers, this one simple message seeks to provide strength and peace of mind for our soldiers to endure. Not politics, not really even the Iraqi’s themselves, for there is mixed feelings, but just whether those back home are proud of them. With the supporters of the war shrinking in numbers, that young man or woman needs to know that as a soldier are we proud of them.

As one more soldier returns home, his body drapped in an American flag, on the final flight home, those left behind to carry on his or her will need for it to mean something, they need to know….Do I Make You Proud?

Do I Make You Proud -Taylor Hicks



My Opinion: When Our Soldiers Are Murdered (updated)

By: Balding Eagle | 20 Jun 06


I am outraged. I confess it. Politically correct or not, I have grown weary of throwing our soldiers to the political wolves in order to appease the Iraqi’s and world community. These are the same Iraqi’s who have barbarically slaughtered their own, as well as our soldiers. No, not everyone is an insurgent. But in 24 hours we had 8,000 soldiers, helicopters, aircraft, and unmanned drones searching for the soldiers, and not one Iraqi citizen seemed to know anything that could have possibly preventing their fate. In reading of the torture and brutal way our soldiers, who were taken captive, were treated, tortured and murdered, I am no longer deeply concerned about the incidents that make the headlines and making our soldiers scapegoats for very incident that occurs in Iraq. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not justifying or condoning any action in which our soldiers murdered unarmed innocent Iraqi’s. But please, the Italians want to try a Marine for firing on a speeding car approaching a checkpoint. I don’t see any of these same “in the name of justice” countries calling for the justice of our two soldiers. At what point did it become acceptable for inhumane actions, as long as it was against American forces? Right now is the moment to measure the media’s worth. If there is not a call to arms, not coverage for the outrage and disgust for these two soldiers on at least the same measure as they have applied to those soldiers accused (not found guilty of) of killing Iraqi’s in the fog or war, then the media has exposed itself not only in bias for its total lack of credibility with the American public. If it fails in this test, if it fails to unite the American people in their resolve, then it fails to represent America and demonstrates, without argument that it seeks only its personal agenda as a divider of the American people, and not a unifier of their will. This is the same media that I watched this morning tell us of the discovery of the bodies and their condition, and then state “the pentagon will not confirm that the soldiers have been located pending notification of their next of kin”, (in other words we have not yet notified the families, please respect that and we will inform you of the information after notifying the families first) so why is the national media broadcasting not only the discovery of the bodies, but their condition based on information they received from Iraq officials before the families had been notified.

I live on Ft. Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne Division, one of the most elite military units in the world. So, today as I was in the Shoppette, or the PX courtyard, everyone was talking about what the insurgents has done to our soldiers. There was intense and utter rage. The feeling and sentiment was not that we should pull out, but rather tired of the political games, and the restraint that no one within the world community seems to recognize, and let the military do its job so we can wrap this up and come home. See one must understand that the patrols that come under attack are a political solution to assist the Iraqi’s in the ability to stand on their own. We downplay our presence, to be the “nice guys” that in deadly attempts goes without recognition. In fact, the military is quite capable of going from city to city making Fallujah look like a training exercise, until the insurgency becomes no more dangerous than a troop of boy scouts on a weekend campout. Yes it would upset the Iraqi’s, and yes we would become the great Satan again to another country, and yes the Italians would be vocal at the United Nations and threaten to pull out their couple of hundred soldiers from one of Saddam’s vacation palaces in the south. But, this nightmare would be over. Please, come on, let’s be realistic. Let’s say that the Iraqi government takes hold, and let’s say that the Iraqi army is finally able to stand on their own and provide some degree of security, do you honestly think the attitude and opinion of the United States regarding Iraq will be any different, then if we took the fight to the insurgents and terrorists unleashing our military’s wrath and just clean up this mess and went home.

To me, the bottom line is simple. These people have demonstrated their values, their humanity, and their danger to society. There needs to be no more calls for protecting their rights and dignity, to pamper them and treat them as anything more than murderous criminals. There have been despicable individuals tried by the world court for war crimes, who performed less hideous acts than those performed by the terrorists, and insurgency. So why did it take a U.S. air strike to bring Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to justice. Should he not have been sought after by the world court for the horrific deaths, murder and torture he brought on the world community? When one thinks of the terrible acts he committed against the Iraq’s, in Jordan, and in the world, not to mention the U.S. soldiers, should not the United Nations have been using its resources to hunt down and try him for criminal acts against humanity? In Serbia, during Bosina, these acts were considered war crimes. I guess it just depends on who you are killing, and if it involves American soldiers, then it is justified.

I know I am just ranting and raving here, without a clear platform. But look at the photos below. These soldiers were taken captive and unarmed. In other words, they are no longer combatives. We label insurgents who fired on U.S. troops moments earlier, but are now unarmed “detainees”. We have soldiers under investigation for supposely firing on “detainees” and world outcry for justice.

Today these soldiers bodies are being shipped back to the U.S. for DNA identification because they were so brutally murdered that dental records were not even an option. Yet I have not read, heard, or viewed the world community, or even those within our own country who say they are seeking justice by pursuing our troops as scapegoats for political gain, calling for “investigations”, justice, criminal actions. Can anyone show me something where Kerry or Murtha are calling for justice and retribution for this action against our soldiers with the same politcal hunger they are pursuing our soldiers for in possible “fog of war” incidents? I have to wonder if Kerry, Murtha, Clinton, or the others would feel the same need to use our soldiers for a political platform if they had a son or daughter serving their country and deployed to Iraq.

Where’s the outcry for justice? I guess justice just depends on whether you are an American soldier or not. A soldier returning from Iraq points out - “They’re using our good will, our good-nature policy against us,” says Sgt. Bobby Walls, a 38-year-old Pennsylvania National Guard member. “The fact that we fight as the good guys sometimes turns around and kicks us in the can, you know?”

I have had enough of being the “nice guy” military.


kristian menchaca
Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, Texas



thomas tucker
Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore.

1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division


These opinions are my own and do not reflect Grey Eagle’s opinion or that of the military


The day I had to shoot the humvee…..

By: Grey Eagle | 19 Jun 06


I think everyone will understand when I say the words, “Command Maintenance” or “Turn in” out here. Yes, I was tasked to do both….and let me tell you it was funny. First I had to go around and bribe, barter and steal to get doors put on for my two vehicles. That was fun. Luckily, I found some great guys in a shop that had no problems with helping me. As I am getting one set put on, I went back to get the second vehicle only to find out that it was dead. Yeah… dead. I just wanted to cry at that moment. I was so excited to have made all the right connections. I mean, You have to see the whole picture to know how much trouble I went to get this set up.

First, finding someone that would squeeze my two vehicles into their schedule. Something they certainly did not have to do, and trust me there is not a lot of people here willing to help sometimes because we are all under the gun for time. Then I found out that I was missing special brackets to put the doors on that no one had any extra for me, so it was up to me to turn over every rock and pull a lot of favors to find them. Then it was by fate that I found them, while making another deal for something else…..the gods were good to me that day. So, then I get the brackets, doors and vehicles all lined up to be taking care of…..I was very proud of myself for having the right connections and for being able to pull of something that was virtually impossible to do. So, for my second one to not crank for me ….. well, you can imagine how sick at my stomach I was.

But, I wasn’t going to lay down on this one. I decided to go out and talk to the humvee’s. I told them of the importance of this mission and that I had to accomplish it. I promised them a massage and washing if they would all just behave and crank for me in order to complete this mission. At that point I tried again to crank number two and he still did not want to start up……I then pulled out my weapon and shot him in front of the other humvee’s letting them know that this is what happens when you don’t want to co-operate.

With fear in number two’s headlights I turned to the others and said “let this be a lesson to all of you humvee’s sitting here! I am not playing.” Of course, I did not really shoot him but I played it out real well in my mind. But not to be taken lightly, I did seriously kick the tire however, demonstrating my lethal martial art skills with my size 7 boot………

Needless to say, all of the other humvee’s must have taken me seriously, because they all cranked without a hitch. Now, number two….well, he went to the shop to be fixed and n I still managed to get his doors put on the next day. Even though this mission took me almost three days to accomplish, I still managed to get it done and have them ready for turn in.

Yippee for me…..It all goes to show that making friends and connections out here is the only way to survive this environment.

humvee
A Surviving Humvee


When The Line Between Reality & Surreal Becomes Blurred

By: Grey Eagle | 13 Jun 06

tolietpaper_award
IN LIGHT OF MY BEST FRIENDS RECENT BLOG…I ONLY HAVE ON THING TO SAY….Submitted by Spc. Frie


The other day I was giving some thought to life beyond Iraq. It seems like I have been living here so long that life beyond the sandbox has become surreal. I don’t even know when that happened, it was so long ago. We all say we are excited about coming home, and that is true, but in the same breath that we declare our excitement, we are also nervous. We express our joy at returning to those things that we left behind but anxious if it will still be the same. I have lost contact with myself. I am not even sure who that is anymore.

I have been living in another life time another dimension so separate from the world I left behind that I fear I may never really find my way back. Will those I love be able to accept me if I was not the exact person they knew. Would they be angry with me for the loss of my innocence. Will they understand the person I have become, the new needs I require. If I turn left, when they are used to me going right will they make the new turn with me, or stay on the old path, and we become separated, even for a moment. Detached now from who I was, I do not really even know who I am right now. When I first arrived here I was able to separate the two worlds. Things were distinct and traveling back and forth was easy. I was able to rationalize my behavior as two separate and distinct personalities. Now that line almost doesn’t exist. Living, working, breathing and being overwhelmed by the environment and those in it, I have found their personalities meshing with mine. A composite of characters that would rival Sybil. Cast adrift, living in the moment, my vision never wanders far from little box here. One moment I thinking of home, my husband and kids, I miss them, my heart heavy; then in a flash the drama of life here disrupts my moment of longing and I am quickly teleported to another dimension, one in which all the players are living in that same moment of time existence. This may seem distorted to those who have never experience this, I know that my wildest of imagination never produced me living like this, but within the box, things are real. The people, the sights, sounds, the soap opera drama, it is all real to me. I can touch it, feel it, be surrounded by it. Home… it is a dream, an imaginary world. It is like that tropical vacation you have always wanted to take. You close your eyes and escape to the vacation place in your mind, and though it brings you happiness you know it is just beyond your reach. Then you open your eyes to reality and go back to the mundane work at your desk.

I hate talking about my feelings. One, it is viewed as weakness, something I cannot tolerate within myself. The second is, what is perceived as sharing feeling by one, can be misinterpret as “whining” by another. That is one thing I will not have others see me as… whining about anything. Some people here say that my posts are too dramatic, and become lost in the symbolism. Some have stated a resentment at the attention the website sometimes gets, because I confess I am not always the poster child of the U.S. Army. I am just a soldier, experiencing and finding my way through my first deployment. When I was arrived I sought to please everyone, and that a good sense of humor and respect would carry me through this. I thought if I just worked as hard as I could then everyone would see that and somehow I would be above the “infighting” that exist in any unit that lives, works, plays, and breathes together 24/7. I thought people would say ‘go get “Wilks” she’ll get it done. Not that everyone else couldn’t have done just as good, just that people would see me as sort of that “worker bee” and accept me. See, I struggle a little with the fact that I am older than 80% (+) of those around me. With no real common bond, and set in my ways, I didn’t know how I was going to fit in.…hell I don’t even know who Snoop Ditty Dog.. or whoever is. The soldiers around me are looking to go places in life I have already been and left behind. I felt and feel very old. Crap, I have people giving me orders who are barely older than my son. After a while, I felt lonely and isolated and tried to fit in, and as many of those who are deployed with me here know, I have made my share of mistakes along the way. Most soldiers my age are senior NCO’s or officers, and have learned along the way and have much to offer, but because of my rank, I don’t fit in. I only share life’s experiences with them, not military structure. I work hard. That is the most important thing to me, that is the only way I know. I feed off recognition. I have always been that way. I will charge a dozen insurgents in an ambush with nothing more than my utility tool, smiling and thanking the NCO who ordered me to do it, not even arguing back (which will be a surprise to some here) all for the simple knowledge that in the aftermath they will acknowledge that I did it. I know, not the best personality type to have in the Army. But that is me. Tell me “good job Wilks, thanks” and the next time you ask me to do something I will try even harder because I know I have to work harder than last time to get the same recognition. Hand me a roll of toilet paper with the words “Thanks” on it and it gets its own little place on my shelf and makes my month. That’s just how I operate, and I guess I am too old to change. So I will probably be doing a lot of corrective training.

I figure I would bring this post to a close with a photo of me during a happier time. In my mind and in my actions I sometimes forget she exists, buried in order to survive a year here. But in my heart I know she is alive and waits the freedom bird that will take us home so she can be set free from her exile.

fun_day


Grey Eagles looking for a job……

By: Grey Eagle | 07 Jun 06

I was talking with a friends the other day and we were talking about when you are not happy in the real world you go job hunting and put out resumes….well, I was challenged to do that here and see what happens. So, I am officially putting out my resume now looking for a job in the ARMY. True the Army is not known for its hiring practices, but who says you can’t put out a resume and see if anyone wants to offer you something that you love and want to do. Maybe I will start a trend. I mean in the real world, if you are not happy you put out resumes and look for something else to do…..why not here in the Army? You have to admit it is a logical thought process, although I recognize that nothing in the Army is logical and/or makes any sense. But here I go, I am going to put my resume on the site and see what happens…. You never know until you try something if it will work….so why not. Grey Eagle has never ran from a challenge yet.

To protect myself and not get into trouble let me state, I am not sending it out to other units. Just posting my qualities and assets, experiences and knowledge and see what happens.


    ASSETS:

Loyalty: All I have in this world is my balls and my word, and I am not breaking either one for you.
Duty: Can walk and chew gum at the same time (multi-tasking), besides I was once in the bathroom during a mortar attack and still got the job done
Respect: You’re not the boss of me!
Selfless Service: I will, … no wait I do… work through lunch and dinner, to make sure everyone else gets to eat. Food is just a crutch…damnit where’s that brownie I stuffed into my pocket the other day
Honor: Yes, don’t believe the rumors, I still have my honor as a married woman
Integrity: What? I always tell the truth…..
Willing To Take Risks: I have discovered that Humvee’s and Hummers are not the same. The Humvee cost more, but you can actually take a Humvee 4 wheeling and not worry about the paint job
Dedication: Despite what my husband may think sometimes, I am dedicated to returning home to him and my kids… like the Army…love my family. OK, on some days I get that backwards, but give me a break I live in a sandbox
Physically Fit: Agile enough to dance on a table in six inch heels without falling off and can run faster than an insurgent carrying an RPG
Personal Courage: I once assisted in leading a convoy. Of course it was just for practice and we never left the base just drove in circles, but I was still prepared to shoot at anything that shot at me first
Determination: Clicking my heels three times together didn’t take me to Kansas or any place else I could hitch hike home from and I have gone through three pairs of boots but I keep trying
Resourceful: We have had to overcome and adapt here and be creative in adjusting to our equipment. To save money to make up for the cuts in the military budget our equipment had dual purposes For example the big treatment tent that we had to set up here doubled as a Hooters during the Clinton administration, but I make do
Sense of Humor: I once put a “Keep Off The Grass” sign outside and watched how many people stopped and look around for several minutes trying to spot the grass in the desert they were suppose to keep off of


    WARRIOR ETHOS:

I will always place the mission first: The first mission is my life, I have no room for a second mission.

I am proud of the NCO corps and setting an example…..just the other day an E7 showed me what I don’t want to be like…..GO Corps.

I don’t care if your push my buttons, I only have two. take your choice, bitch and mean bitch

I will never leave a fallen comrade: I can’t…..they find me everywhere I go and follow me……….aaarrrgghhhh

Please leave all perspective employment comments below.


She Is A Soldier

By: Balding Eagle | 30 May 06

Inspired by Grey Eagle and Female Soldiers, Jordan Leigh has written and sung a new song called “She Is A Soldier”. This first of its kind song written about the female soldier is a very moving tribute to the female soldiers who have dedicated and have given their lives for freedom along side their brothers-in-arms. Thank You Jordan!

 

 

      Click Here To Listen To The Song

 

To listen to her song “Soldier, I Thank You” a tribute to her brother who died in Iraq and all fallen soldiers.  Please use the link below to request these songs on your local radio station.

 

                                     Listing Of Radio Stations In Your Area 

 

 

In addition Dave Clark’sGrey Eagle Soars” is set to be recorded soon and there is an excitement about the first song written about Grey Eagle.

 

Grey Eagle will be appearing in a new show called ”My War Diary” to be aired by the Discovery Channel.  You can see her in the commerial “First Time” Watch Grey Eagle’s Commerical for the show by clicking the link. See if you can recognize her, and you’ll see and hear her voice for the first time since this site began.

 

There are many new and exciting things coming to the website,.  We are proud to announce that we have several new member to the team, all female soldiers who will be contributing articles and stories to provide a broader picture of life as a female soldier. This project is set to be completed soon.  We also encourage you to take advantage of the new Forum (listed on the top navagation bar) to give you a voice.  As these and other new projects are developed and uploaded you will notice occasional short downtime for certain things.  These are to be expected as the website goes into a new transformation in direction and design.


On This Memorial Day Weekend

By: Grey Eagle | 28 May 06

On this Memorial Day weekend let us take a moment and remember what this weekend is for.  I know everyone on every website and blog is going to say the same thing until you just sort of skip over the words.  But I know for me, as I suspect for many, Memorial Day weekend was a three day weekend to look forward to for Bar-B-Q’s and time with family and friends.  I would like to think that those who “gave all” did so in that we may be free to enjoy this weekend and would have wanted us to embrace it.  Let it become a celebration of life, but not lose sight that this celebration came with a price, that others paid for in their blood. 

These past 8 months, the visions of the wounded and of the dead, will forever change this holiday for me. In one particular moment, as I sought to prepare a soldier’s remains, I discovered a photo of his family within his helmet.  On this weekend that moment burns in my memory and etches a meaning of this time deeply into my soul.  I think that anyone who visits this website during this weekend should click on the Tributes, and pick at least one soldier from the list and take the time to read about them. It is a small way not only to pay tribute to our fallen, but in that moment that you are reading about them, they are alive.  See when you read about a fallen soldier, they are in your heart and for those few minutes they are alive again, within you.  I think we owe them that much for their sacrifice.  Take a moment and leave a comment for that soldier and for those who visit that Tribute in the future to know that on this weekend you will keep this soldier alive in your heart.

On this weekend I wish to pass on a thought to those who visit this website.  In the Soldier’s Creed it states “Duty, Honor, Country”.  Nowhere does it mention politics.  On this special day, put your political thoughts aside.  On this day remember every soldier has a family, someone who loves them and will miss them deeply.  I can tell you from personal experience that there isn’t one soldier who has been deployed that did not reflect on that moment they were called to offer their lives at least once.  Know that no soldier’s final thoughts were of whether we should or shouldn’t be here, but of those they will leave behind.  Know that as you celebrate this day, there is equally a mother, father, sister, brother, wife, husband, a child – whose tears give you the right to say “ I live in the Home of the Free”

A couple of days ago I received a few photos with a brief story about each photo in my email from a long time reader of the website.  Now what made these photos (.pdf) stand out is that they are of letters written by soldiers who ‘gave all’ for us to have a Memorial Day weekend.  I wish to share just a couple with you, and will post the others at a later date after the website upgrades this week.  It is my hope that these letters will stir your soul on Monday and your thoughts and prayers be with these families, and indeed it truly becomes Memorial Day.

                                            Aaron Weaver

The letter to his young daughter was found on Weaver’s body when he died Jan. 8, 2004, in the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter shot down by insurgents.  Weaver’s letter is today framed and hanging in Savannah’s bedroom in Fayetteville, N.C. “I would hope that when she grows up, she knows how much he adored her,” says Nancy Weaver, the soldier’s widow. Savannah is 3 now.

Holly McGeogh is listed in the Fallen Female Soldier’s Tribute of this website, so this letter has special meaning to me - Grey Eagle. 

                                          Holly McGeogh

In her other letters she wrote “It’s gonna be such an exciting day when I land in the States. It’s gonna be a day I will always remember,” she wrote to her family. “I really miss u all soooooo much. To be honest, if it wasn’t for u guys, I would have never been able to make it through all this.” During a convoy mission in Kirkuk twenty five days later from this letter, no one saw the roadside bomb that went off near McGeogh’s Humvee. Two soldiers with her, were also killed.

                                           Robert Stever

SSG Robert Stever a tank mechanic made a pact with another soldier.  Both wrote a “to be opened” letter in case something should happen to either one of them.  SSG Stever’s letter was delivered to his wife Cyndi.  He left behind a 10 year old daughter.

 


Things Could Be Worse: My Thoughts

By: Grey Eagle | 27 May 06

 

The days have been long and hard lately, but I have entertained myself with some thoughts that have kept me in a positive attitude:
 

 

 

• I look around and think to myself… heck, there are worse places I could have been….like Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 (the atomic bomb) 

• We are engaged in a beautification program here….apparently I must have too much free time…. because everyone knows there is nothing more natural then a flower garden in the middle of the desert

• In getting promoted to SGT, I discovered that, the enlisted think I know too much, the senior NCO’s don’t think I know anything…and me?  I am still trying to figure out why I am planting flowers at the end of a runway on a base in the desert during a war… so what do I know?

• I look forward to PT (physical training) because I can run faster than most of the senior NCO’s …. meaning I am where they are not

• The sand is everywhere, it gets in your hair, face, teeth, inside your boots, it gets in your weapon so your can entertain yourself by cleaning it 4 times a day, it gets crusty and hard as it mixes with your sweat, it becomes quite annoying as it develops into a third layer of skin under your pants and shirt….. if my husband takes me to the beach when I get back I will kill him

• In Iraq ….. under amour clothing is a girl’s best friend

• If I am taking a bath, it means I fell into one of the many mud holes during the rain season

• I am recording the sound of incoming mortar attacks to a CD so I can play it at night when I get back home so I will be able to fall asleep

• Daydreams of a time where going to the store doesn’t require 48 soldiers, 12 armored vehicles, and a half dozen gunners on a 4 mile convoy

• Rounds is something to look forward to at the local bar

• I look forward to hearing the words “What would you like to order” from the waitress as I sit in a restaurant  with my husband at a table designed for two

• Capt. Morgan is something to smile about, not salute

• For all the sex that I as a female soldier is accused of having, you would think I would be a much happier person

• The reason I know the Army is run by males, is because any woman knows you can’t have more than two females in a unit, as three leads to gossip, and any number greater than three will lead to a cat fight

• I am no longer bothered by hate email.  I vision someone waking up after 8 hours of sleep, then after breakfast, kissing their spouse good-bye for the day, then after the privacy of the bathroom pouring a fresh cup of coffee, turning on CNN for background noise and sitting down in a comfortable chair at their desk in their home to write me that I shouldn’t be here

• When the term Nine Line means a slot machine, not incoming wounded soldiers being delivered by helicopter

• Finally, I am excited that I no longer require a calculator to add up the days until my deployment ends


What Was I Thinking?

By: Balding Eagle | 19 May 06

I would like to think of myself as a mature adult, seemingly intelligent and capable of logical thought, a good father and husband with a solid marriage.  However, one may question my self-perception after this last week.  Despite appearing in newspapers, magazines, and on CNN for husband’s of female soldiers support, I to became a casualty spouse this last week.  Though I hang my head in shame, it opened my eyes to many things, and I saw many of the winged demons that contribute to a 53% divorce rate among deployed female soldiers. 

My story begins with not having heard from Grey Eagle over a period of time.  My email went unanswered, and only a couple of quick 5 minute phone calls assured me that no physical harm had come upon her.  But the lack of communication was unusual and I was slightly concerned for her stress level and emotional health.  Anyone who has been a long time reader of the website will have noticed that the lighthearted humorist approach that she took a year ago has long given way to a more dark, and deep reflections sometimes in her posts over the these months of her deployment.  Well, in addition to my other projects I also do some volunteer work here on post.  One day I mentioned that I had not heard from my wife in a long period of time, I guess hoping to hear some gossip like they are super busy with operations and missions right now, and was suddenly surrounded by four female spouses of deployed soldiers.  Sorrow and grief was cast upon me at the demise of my marriage, and was consoled through statements such as “you know this happens and is to be expected of female soldiers.  With so many male soldiers over there it is just a matter of time”.  I brushed away their comments with “no way, you don’t know my wife, there is a more logical reason.”  Now, don’t get me wrong, Grey Eagle is no saint, she has a better chance of being accepted as a Coyote Ugly bartender than as a nun, even in the most liberal of parishes.  But, her marriage and her family is something because of her past is something she cherishes very deeply.  So I dismiss this “support” as the mere attempt to gossip and gather the wagons in a circle to protect another spouse from the destructive powers of the female soldier. 

So a couple of days later I go to the bank.  While there I learn that my Power of Attorney (POA) has been revoked.  I am told by the cashier to see the bank representative.  I am steaming that the bank has managed to screw up my account as I am waiting.  Finally it is my turn, and the female representative tells me I will need to return with my POA, because this action was taken by my wife, and could only have been done so through their legal department generally in response to a soldier filing for divorce (they said it keeps the spouse from having access to the account when they receive the paperwork for the divorce).  The representative told me that this common and if I bring in my divorce papers when I get them and my POA then I can establish my own account and probably seek to renew my access to the current, at least long enough to transfer funds to the new account if needed.  I leave the bank in shock and dismay.  Suddenly the conversation I had a couple of days earlier with the woman I volunteer work with began to take on a new light.  I was falling into the spouse trap!  It is too late to locate my POA and return to the bank, so instead I fire off emails to Grey Eagle questioning what I had been told.  But they went unanswered that day.  The spouses in my neighborhood were standing outside discussing who they thought was having sex with who this week, which should have been my first clue to keep my mouth shut.  But in my despair, I had a sudden brain fart, and begin to explain the events of the week.  I had woman offering to assist me in packing our belongs and taking the boys and moving back home.  I was under a barrage of stories of female soldiers they had “heard” doing this and that and was lectured that I should have known this was going to happen and been prepared for it.  For the next 24 hours I had my yard mowed, food brought over, and woman acknowledging my boys as they came home from school.  A neighborhood “representative” sat in my living room outlining my options and pledging assistant to “get back” at my wife when my youngest son came home.  Again in a case of stupidity I sent him upstairs rather than throwing her out, so as not to overhear anything. 

Finally I have a few brief minutes with Grey Eagle in a chat online.  She says she is very busy at the moment and was not very talkative, but did say that she had done nothing to the account and had no clue as to what was going on.  That was all that was said, and then there was a period of no communication again.  The same bank representative that I had visited with before again gave me the same speech in a follow-up visit, but I was missing one document of my POA that granted me total financial access to everything.  So I return to look for it, but am mentally and emotionally exhausted by the week.  Now I am not ready to toss in the towel at this and accept the belief that this isn’t just some huge mistake.  So I do not wish to turn to my family or friends in fear that it may tarnish her image with them, and someone may even actually believe it.  So I turn to the online support groups that are listed by the Army.  They give me all sorts of information on how to contact Grey Eagle’s commander, file a complaint, and my legal avenues.  I am just wanting someone to tell me “Hey, don’t listen to everyone, I am sure there is a perfectly good explanation for this”, but I never got that. 

Finally a couple of days ago, I had enough.  I was prepared to just shut things down and actually began to contemplate that there may be some truth behind all that I was being told, and that I was just being naive.  Frustrated and not caring anymore I called my father, and talked to our mutual best friend a cavalry soldier who if anything he has no diplomacy or tact and shoots straight from the hip.  Both said, “pull your head out”.  “There is a war on…hello… and this is the Army…. This is not a social club and your wife isn’t on a cruise…. And I hate to be the one to tell you this but there are wounded soldiers out there, many who are grateful that your wife is not on the computer emailing you but in the clinic doing her job…. So go out get a couple of beers….get over yourself and take care of the boys….”  The men’s philosophy of life.  And it is exactly what I need to hear.  Later that day as fate would have it, Grey Eagle called and we got to talk for like an hour and I discovered that their workload is greater than the hours built into a day.  That there were many times she wanted to write, but would have to give up an hour of her 3-4 hour sleep time and just couldn’t get out of bed.  In addition, I returned to the bank.  This time the usual representative I was seeing wasn’t there, so I had to see the vice president instead.  He looks up things, makes a phone call and says “we are changing over to a new computer program and there isn’t a line on this new program for the POA’s like on the old program, but if you look at the bottom of the screen it says “999” which means indefinite, and should be a clue to the other bank employees that you still have access to the account.  “I am sorry for the miscommunication, this isn’t the first time this has happened.”  I will post a memo and you shouldn’t have a problem in the future.  “What!!” “That’s it!” “Your people made the assumption that since my wife is a female soldier that divorce would have been the only option here and not even taken the 3 minutes it took you to investigate and find out the answer”.  “The problems created more than just difficulties in my bank account, and all you guys got is I’m sorry”.

The reply…. “happens all the time…welcome to the Army gossip support group”.

Now I have to wonder how much of what I endured plays a factor in the 53% divorce rate of deployed female soldiers.   

I need a support group that mixes Jim Belushi with Jeff Foxworthy. 

Balding Eagle 

 


Grey Eagle is soaring so high right now…………

By: Grey Eagle | 18 May 06

Before reading my post, please take a moment and listen to this song that was sent to me.  I think it is appropriate for this post.  I also think it is worth purchasing this young man’s CD, because this song helps to remind us of something many have forgotten over the last three years of war.  Please CLICK HERE while reading on (it will be a pop-up window that you can’t minimize so it will be tricky but worth it, I just let it play in the background while re-read this post).  Before you leave take a moment to visit Dustin Evans website for this and other songs.

I Am So Proud Of My Boys…

I need to apologize to so many people right now for not being more considerate of my loved ones as well as friends and my wonderful readers.  Please let me say “I AM SOOO SORRY”. 

First let me tell everyone how it has been lately.  I wish I could say that I have been outside the wire fighting and doing good things but that is just in my dreams.  I could tell you that I have been low crawling around with my M16 trying to make Iraq better….but no, I am however beautifying the FOB.  We continue to improve the FOB with all sort of additions that we will not get to enjoy in our time……I am not sure of the reasons but hey, I do as I am told.

Well, I bet everyone is wondering why Grey Eagle is soaring right now…..let me tell you why.  All my life there has been ups and downs, but the one thing that will always be constant is my family.  I can say without any hesitation that I am sooo proud of my boys.  My boys are the greatest.  Sure, I am prejudice, they are mine.  But you have to understand the whole story.  Don’t worry….I am not going to bore anyone with the details of my life, but I can tell you that I love my boys and that even though I am over here in Iraq and can not tell them…..I am very proud of how they have grown up into two very handsome and very responsible young men. 

There are nights that I sit and cry because I am missing everything they are accomplishing back at home.  One of my boys got the second highest medal in his JROTC group and I wasn’t there to share that with him.  My other son was chosen to be the AVID student from his middle school, which is an advanced honors program and I wasn’t there for that either.  My oldest son will be driving and I wont be there to help teach him.  My youngest son graduates from the middle school and again I wont be there to share that.

My oldest boy, who is high school this year (9th) is in JROTC and has been going above and beyond to keep his grades up.  Now my oldest son does not keep an “A” average and struggles a little but he makes up for everything in his spirit and heart.  He will put 110% into anything….almost 120% and drive you crazy, but he will do it.  He plays football and is really good, just needs guidance.  He is in JROTC and does the ranger program after school and has grown so much.  He has really turned into a young man. in JROTC one cadet is awarded the second highest medal which is ‘Distinguished Honor Cadet’.  Well, my boy was chosen this year…..this is his first year and he has already been pinned with one of the highest awards.  He goes all out for inspections and any duties that they have for him to do.  He is choosen to go to OCS school for his summer and do football camp.  He has even decided that he wants to go into the Marines.  (I know that I am in the Army, but he would make a DAMN good Jarhead Marine).  Any mom would be proud and this mom……well let me say it loudly…..I am very proud. 

My youngest son, who is in the 8th grade has really shined the past several years.  Again to long of a story to talk about how he got to where he is now, but he has grown so much within the last few years.  He is an “A” student and he plays football with the local boys even though he feels sweating is against the law….lol  I chuckled each time my husband tells me of his story and how my son drags all the kids down the field to make a touchdown each time. .  He can pick up a video game and have it master within about 48 hours if that much…..man I wish I could get him to master cleaning his room in that time.  Oh well, I guess mom has to compromise somewhere.  .  Well, for him, I found out today that he was picked by his school (only one kid per school each year) to be the AVID student.  This is an advanced honor program going into high school….these students normally graduate early and go on to prestigious schools.  I am very proud of him.  I can’t say where he gets his smarts from, but I will be happy to take credit being mom…..lol.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love being in the Army and I don’t mind deployments at all.  This one sucks but it has nothing to do with Iraq, which is ironic in itself and a different story for a more appropriate time.  The point being is that even though we are over here doesn’t mean we don’t love our kids and miss them dearly.  We all wish we can be there to see them grown up and watch them strive forward.  I wish I could stay up late every night and call them to talk, or get up major early and call before work call, but I can’t.  We are tired.  Again, I cant say that I am outside the wire, but what I do here at this company can wear anyone out and make you very tired, both emotionally and physically.  There are days I did wish I was outside the wire, or on a medical mission to help someone, but I am not allowed.  

Now things would not be so bad if I could be there to yell it out or grab both of them and hug them with all my strength.  I hate not being there for them……but what I did was I ran around the FOB telling anyone I knew and even people I did not know about my boys.  I went outside and yelled it out to everyone how proud and how much I loved them.  I know it wasn’t much, but at least I felt better…everyone thought I was crazy but that is okay…….hey wait a minute maybe I can get sent home for being crazily in love and proud of my boys…..if that is the case, then sign me up to be sent home.  Anyway, I hope my boys read this and know how much I love them and how proud I am of the men they have become.  I cant wait to come home and have “son night” with each one of my boys.  I miss both of them dearly and count the days till I am home.