I mentioned last post that this was the nth time at journaling. I went to Baghdad in 2006 as a US Navy Civil Affairs officers assigned to the 354th Civil Affairs Brigade. I kept a hand-written journal (sporadically) during that year. Afterward, in late 2007, I started to blog about it. So mixed into the stories of gaming will be some of my old blogs explaining where I have been and where I am going as a man. If you are here to read about gaming, just ignore these musings – these are not the droids you are looking for – otherwise come with me to a distant land and thankfully now a distant war.
I have been home nearly a year from the war. My journey has been long and difficult – probably not unique to me, but intensely personal and full of deep meaning. I hope with this blog to share the tale of my small part in the war and its profound affect upon the person who went to the desert and the person who I am today. Let’s start in the middle and work our way both forward and backwards in time.
After a hurried holiday drive home on New Years Eve 2005, my wife and I walked into our house to see the telephone answering machine blinking with 15 messages. I was tired from the long drive back from the beach and just wanted to go to bed. I suggested to my wife to leave the messages until the morning, but she wanted to hear them before retiring. Nestled amongst the cold call solicitations and holiday announcements for celebrations since passed, was a life changing message, “Commander Cox, this is Petty Officer Smith at the Fort Worth NOSC (Naval Operations Support Center). I am calling about your recall. Please call me.” No more, no less. My wife hit the repeat key and the fateful words echoed out again. Listening to all the messages again did not bring anymore insight into the meaning of that call. By now it was nearly 10:30 PM, on a Saturday, on one of the biggest Holidays of the year. I knew that answers would not start to come until New Years and there was little point in calling until more news could be obtained. We want to bed with a level of holiday expectation that I had not experienced in years. Somewhat surprisingly, the events of the past weeks lost all importance and as I fell into slumber I couldn’t but remember how Bilbo felt as he went to bed with a hobbit hole full of dwarves and a summons to go there and back again.