Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The job of Army Mom just got a lot harder...

I am so grateful that Brandon came home, and on schedule from his deployment. I am grateful every minute of every day.

Early this morning I read about Pfc. Bradley Rappuhn who enlisted in the Army at the exact same time Brandon enlisted. He was also scheduled to return from his deployment in July... However, as we welcomed our Ranger home, 45-days were added to Pfc. Rappuhn's rotation.

I cannot help but think about how his parents felt when they learned their son's deployment was extended. Heck! 45-days before Brandon was due home I was already stocking the pantry with his favorite cereal and buying up the gatorade flavors I knew he'd want. News of an extension would have been devastating.

I cannot help but think about it because it's the second thing I asked God for the most while Brandon and his buddies were deployed... First, I prayed, God, please bring Brandon back to me and second, God, please don't let this deployment be another day longer than it has to be.

I can only imagine that PFC Rappuhn's mother was praying for the same as our sons served in the same Ranger battalion during the same deployment cycle. I am so profoundly sorry for her unimaginable loss and pain... I just cannot tell you.

Unfortunately, the 3rd Ranger Battalion lost another brother this week. He is Sgt. Andrew Nicol. Turns out, our families were celebrating the high school graduations of our future Army Airborne Rangers at the same time. However, as Brandon prepared to go off to college after graduation, Sgt. Andrew Nicol was enlisting. As I read about Sgt. Nicol my heart was breaking, but when I read that he had already served FIVE tours in Iraq and Afghanistan my blood began to boil. Five deployments... and now he is lost to us on a sixth? Honestly! How can we ask so much of our soldiers? And when does it become, Too much to ask?

I cannot imagine what stress this dear, young man endured during six deployments. Or how his family must have suffered through the periods of extreme uncertainty that comes with these deployments. Or... How his family is now suffering during their extreme grief.

What I am certain of is that I will never recover from the experience of Brandon's first deployment. There was fear I would never wish on anyone. While he was home I was the happiest I can ever remember being. Nothing was too much. Anything he wanted he could have. I was just grateful to have him home, and I know I am enjoying a luxury so many other mothers didn't get. I cannot put it into words, for I am completely overwhelmed by all of it still.

The fact that Brandon is due to deploy again has me wrecked. I cannot lie. And the fact that the balance of his enlistment could see him deploy multiple times... Well, there simply are not enough words to convey how desperate I am for all our troops to come home.

Remember when Brandon enlisted and I told you people would ask me how I felt and all I could admit to was being, Proud, but terrified? Well, I am truly doing my best not to let Terrified rob me of being Proud, but on days like today it's more of a challenge than I think I'm up for.

Please visit Freedom Remembered. Donate to keep the site going if you can, but always remember these Brave and faithful young men... And women too - Like beautiful Spc. Faith Hinkley who was also lost to the world and her family this week.

May all of our fallen Heroes rest in God's perfect peace.


  1. How heartbreaking for that soldier's family. My cousin is on his 4th deployment to Iraq and it's by his choice. He wants to be there and believes it's his calling. While it's incomprehensible to us, they may have their own reasons for going back. I'm not sure how you handle the stress. I would be a lunatic woman and on my knees praying every day. Love to you.

  2. I remember as a kid my Navy Officer father explaining to me the privilege of serving and fighting for our country (after I confided in him how scared I was for him).
    As a parent I cannot imagine how terrifying it is.
    I am so thankful that people like my dad and your son felt called to put their love of our country ahead of their fears. I know my dad always said it was just "what he did".
    It also has given me a reality check about my daughter moving away to college next week...Thanks for your honesty and insight.

    Blessings to your family,

    Maureen G

  3. I am thinking of and praying their families. Their sacrifice and nobility is unmeasurable. We can never put into words how much it means to have the brave young men and women continuing to enlist to fight for our freedom next to the seasoned soldiers. My heart goes out to you for the time you must bid your son goodbye yet another time. I will continue to pray for Brandon and all the others. They have given their all for us. I know you will miss him beyond words. When it gets the hardest for you to bear it. Just close your eyes and take several deep breaths and blow them out like blowing out a candle and pray. God will hear and comfort you. If there is anything I can do to help Brandon and his fellow soldiers, please let me know. Hugs and love sent your way.

  4. Brandon is getting ready to deploy again? Did I see that right?

    I have had only a taste of this, as my son is still a cadet, but already he has gone to scary places where we do not hear from him, and I often think of what will be coming up for him and for us in another couple of years.

    When he first left, I got through the empty days by pretending. In the mornings I pretended he wasn't up yet. Later in the day I pretended he was at school or at work, and in the evenings and weekends I had to pretend he was out with friends.

    So we are now into our third year, and....I am still pretending...

  5. Having a child in the army can never be easy. I'm sure it's just as difficult for the children of some of these men and women, just as it is difficult to have a spouse fighting in the war. It's a tough job and I don't know how y'all get through it. But really the people doing all the hard work are our soldiers and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I pray that they make it home safely and pray even harder for the families' of the ones that don't.

  6. I can't imagine what you and other families go through regarding deployment of a loved one. God bless you all.
    I visited "Freedom Remembered" and it's heartbreaking.


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