Friday, April 13, 2012

It is morning and it is cold out.

We just had the warmest winter in history and now spring is pretty cold. Par golf.

There are no freebies in this world. You always wind up paying for things somewhere along the line.

I think that one of the most important things you can do to a kid is to teach him that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Sommebody somewhere along the line is paying for it somehow.

I just got an email from a friend that came from his daughter-in-law. His son is an army sergeant overseas and I guess the wife got somewhat of a semi-false alarm from the Army regarding her husband's health.

It is somewhat of a dirty trick I figure as the best thing to do is leave army wives alone when their husbands are deployed. No news is good news.

In fact, when I was a GI I filled out a form tellling the army that the only reason thay had to notify my wife about anything is if I was killed, missing or so torn up I couldn't call her myself. The last thing I wanted to have happen is for her to get word that I had been slightly injured.

There is an old WW2 Bill Maudin cartoon of Willie or Joe  telling a medic, "Just give me an asprin. I already got a Purple Heart."

And while Old Willie really has only been zinged lightly, he most likely refused the purple heart so the Army in its indinite wisdom does not generate a casualty report for the folks back home. The last thing a wife needs is to have a chaplain show up at her door and scare the living hell out of her.

I once heard a Marine say once, "Marine wife. Hardest job in the Corps."

I believed him then and I believe it now. They aso get no credit at all for this. Wives are taken for granted.

When a GI is deployed he is generally pretty busy doing his job. His mind and generally his body are occupied with the task at hand, even those in non combat roles. If he is a grunt life cycles around three basic thiings. He is generally either getting ready to fight, fighting or cleaning up after the fight. A payroll clerk is generally busy taking care of the massive amounts of paperwork required to field the guys in the lines.

In short, the GI is generally pretty busy. What is equally important is that he is on scene and generally knows what is going on. He's right in the middle of things and thinks little of it.

Sure, he may be tired, hungry, scared and hurt but he has the luxury of being busy, involved and he knows what is going on. His wife back home, while being fed, rested and safe has no idea as to what is going on and is most likely scared out of her wits. Can't say as I blame her. Not knowing what is going on is damned difficult.

 She's at home with the kids and the demons. She's checking the news constantly to see if there is any sight or news on her husband. Of course if the unit her husband is in makes the news she instantly starts worrying. Her man is in the middle of something and it doesn't look very safe from her viewpoint.

A few years back I was chatting with an old woman of the WW2 generation. Her husband had served and also she had a son in Vietnam. I asked her whiich one caused her the most worries and she instantly replied that her son in Vietnam worried her the most. I asked why.

She explained that back during WW2 there were only the letters to keep her posted and what little she could gleam from the newspapers. The letters were generally cheerful and upbeat. During Vietnam she was glued to the television set twice daily for the drama of the first war to be televised.

During WW2 she had the luxury of not being terrified every single day while the 6 pm news showed gruesome close-ups of GIs being torn up. I can sure see her point. She is wondering if some night she's going to see her son live and in person getting torn up.

Sometimes the Army seems to get it all wrong as much as they try. Any kind of false alarm can send a wife into fear. The last thing she wants to see is a man in uniform showing up at her door unexpectedly.

I suppose if I were some sort of support-type soldier or Marine that had to deal with the wives of the deployed I would call ahead first and make the call sound as non official as possible.

"Betty Smith?  Piccolo, housing NCO. I've got a form for you to fill out. Either you can drop by or I'll come out there."

At least if you have to go out there she knows you are coming and when she sees you walking up the walkway she isn't going to go into panic mode.

I have to agree with the Marine that commented that being a GI wife is the hardest job in the service.

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