November 13, 2011
While channel surfing this afternoon, I landed on a PBS show about women in the military. They are not supposed to be put into combat situations, but it is happening all the time. Independent Lens did a segment on the Lioness warriors. This is an unofficial name because officially they are not actually allowed to be in combat. I was drawn in to this documentary, which followed some of the women who had been involved in war in Iraq and other places. I watched with eyes wide open because we have a daughter who is finishing up boot camp right now.
She is with the National Guard, which is a reserve type branch mainly. Emma will have one weekend a month to be on duty, then 2 weeks training every summer.....unless their unit is deployed. Then they are regular Army soldiers. It makes my heart feel thump-ish and my palms clammy to think about that. Watching the documentary was not helping me feel better, but I definitely feel more educated and in a way, better prepared for what may come.
Then while I was watching it, Emma called. They get a once a week call to home. It lasts about 2 minutes. We wait all week to tell her various things we think of and then when we hear her voice, we forget all the things that seemed important and just listen to her and keep telling her how much we love and miss her.
She said this week was a very hard week for her platoon. They had a 3 day training event out in the woods during a storm with 50-60mph winds, rain, hail and a lot of mud. One of the drill sergeant's said on their facebook page that it would be something similar to what you'd see on scenes from Saving Private Ryan. Lots of GI Joe crawling around under barbed wire while machine guns and grenades are going off all around you. She said today that at times the mud became deep and she had to swim through it. Their clothes were saturated with water, sand and sweat.....then they had to sleep in tents, wet and cold. Next was a 12 mile march in full gear, which is around 40 pounds piled on your back.
She said it was the hardest thing she's ever done.
I hope that she will still be able to say that in 6 years when her enlistment is done. I pray that is the hardest thing she will ever have to do....