So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)

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newsjunkie Posts : 3,417 Registered: 3/30/06
So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)
Posted: Apr 9, 2006 10:12 AM

My younger brother was in the Army for several years and got out a couple of years ago.  He became a firefighter in our hometown and was happier than I had ever seen him.  Several months ago he got a letter from the Army telling him that he was called up for active duty as he had been part of the Individual Ready Reserves. 

My mom, myself, and the family did everything we could to get him out of it.  Selfish of us, I know, when so many other people's brothers/sons/husbands are overseas but we had to try.  Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do and he left today for retraining at Fort Jackson.

I am so sad that he had to leave the great life he had set up for himself.  At this time we do not know where he is going to be stationed.  Could be as good as Savannah, GA (where I am getting married in October- that would be too good to be true!) or overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I am terrified to think of those two options.

I know there are a lot of military brides-to-be on this site.  How do you deal with it?  Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to make his time in the Army easier?  I live in Atlanta so I was thinking of driving out to Fort Jackson to visit him (if he wants me to, of course) since I am the closest family member to him (geographically).  Once he is stationed somewhere I was going to send him regular care packages.  I will definitely ask him what I should and should not include in there (like if he specifically wants or does not want candy/magazines/books, etc.) but is there anything he might not think of that was a huge hit with someone you know?

If he goes to Iraq I am terrified I won't be able to watch the news ever again wondering if the soldier killed was him and we just hadn't been notified yet.  Do you all feel like this, too?  Does it go away?

I have so many questions and everything is kind of up in the air until we know where he will be stationed (we think we will know in about a month).  I don't know why but it makes me feel a little better writing this and I am eager for any responses.  Thanks for reading.

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Guest
Re: So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)
Posted: Apr 9, 2006 10:28 AM Go to message in response to: newsjunkie

Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with family in the military, but I want to pass on my thoughts and hugs to you.  That is so horrible that he had a life he was loving and got torn away from that and his family.  I think you have the right idea, keeping in contact with him, sending letters, packages, is great, it will help both of you feel better and I'm sure he'll appreciate it so much.  I'm sorry you're going through this and I'll keep my fingers crossed for a Savannah, GA assignment! 

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Guest
Re: So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)
Posted: Apr 9, 2006 1:04 PM Go to message in response to: newsjunkie

Well NewsJunkie, I know exactly how you feel, by 100%. You see from my profile that my FH and I will not be wed until the year 2008. Reason being? My little sister was sent to Iraq last July. After her son's 2nd birthday party. She will not be returning until November 2007. With her being my Matron of Honor, I told her I would postpone the wedding until she got back. (We had been planning our wedding in 2005). I have to admit that I am a little upset that I have to wait that long to have my Wedding. But without my little sister there, I couldn't have it at all. I can tell you that any time there are visitations, and you are within flying reach of eachother, you should take them. It means the world to them when they unexpectedly find their families waiting out there for them. My sister and I keep in constant touch with emails and just writing plain old letters to eachother. I also call her from time to time, not as much as I would like cause at $2.00 a minute, I can't afford huge phone bills. But I still try atleast once a month, to hear the sound of her voice. We send pictures. And I send her plans and suggestions and ideas that I have for the Wedding. (I want to keep her constantly in the circle to help me with as much as possible.) Also, whenever possible I send her candies from Mexico that we all grew up eating as children. She loves that! (So does everyone else there apparently, because she tells me that everyone always asks her, "Has your sister sent anymore goodies?") hehe. So, I know it's tough. But you just have to hang in there and be strong for them anyway. They're the ones that are stuck way the hell out there. And all we have is to worry, but I never let her sense that. Take Care and God Bless you and your brother.  

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newsjunkie Posts : 3,417 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)
Posted: Apr 9, 2006 1:27 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

Wow, I can't believe how long you will have to delay your wedding but I definitely understand why you would.  We got engaged days before my brother found out and had already decided approximately when we were going to get married (October of 2006).  I thought about putting it off and even talked to my brother about it but he insisted that we do it now.  I think he is afraid that if we wait one or both of my grandmothers won't be around and he knows how happy they would be to see me get married.  I am the only one in the family to have a real wedding- everyone else just eloped.  Our family is loud, boisterous, and fun and everyone is really excited about it.

My moms friends usually chip in for an especially nice shower gift and she has already talked to them about getting us a camcorder for the shower (they asked what to get us, I didn't dictate it).  We are going to have someone tape the ceremony and then we will pass it around and have everyone record a personal message to him and then send it wherever he is (as long as he has access to a DVD player, of course).  I asked him if this would be OK as I wasn't sure if it would make him MORE sad but he was all for it.

But, really, the wedding is the least of my concerns.  I just want him back home safe and sound once his tour of duty is up!

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Guest
Re: So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)
Posted: Apr 10, 2006 8:59 AM Go to message in response to: newsjunkie

I know this feeling all too well.  I was in the IRR and I got called back.  I only had to go to the reserves though.  I just got informed that my name is on a list of available people to deploy.  The thing that you can do to support him most is write, write, WRITE!! There is no worse feeling than a soldier at mail call waiting for his name to be called to hear from his/ her family.  Been there Done that. I wish him best of luck.

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RoBelle Posts : 1,236 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)
Posted: Apr 10, 2006 10:04 AM Go to message in response to: Guest

Hugs go out to you.  I understand how you feel.  I have a brother who got out of the army about 4 years ago (he's 28 now) and has told us that if they called him back for duty, he is required to go.  We are on pins and needles hoping they don't call him back.  Just keep him your prayers, support him and definately write to him. 

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newsjunkie Posts : 3,417 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)
Posted: Apr 14, 2006 4:40 PM Go to message in response to: RoBelle

Just wanted to let everyone know that he found out a couple of days ago that he is definitely going to Iraq or Afghanistan and may find out today or early next week which one.  He said the average length of deployment is a year- does that sound right?  That sounds wayyyy too long to me (of course, 1 minute over there sounds too long to me).
FH and I live in Atlanta and will drive out to Ft. Jackson this weekend as he has Sunday off and may have Saturday off, too.  We are taking him out to dinner, going to the zoo, maybe going to see a movie.  Whatever he wants to do, basically. 
I hate this.

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Guest
Re: So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)
Posted: Apr 14, 2006 6:26 PM Go to message in response to: newsjunkie

    Yes, the average deployment length for someone in the army is a year.  Just be supportive of him while visiting and things will go well.  People don't need the added stress of their family and friends venting about their deployment while they are preparing to leave (something I've heard a lot of soldiers complain about). 

   You can also start planning what you might want to send him as a way to try and feel better about his leaving.

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newsjunkie Posts : 3,417 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)
Posted: Apr 14, 2006 7:30 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

I definitely plan to send him lots of care packages.  Any suggestions for what to include?  I was thinking of sending homemade cookies (I make fantastic chocolate chip ones!) but would they make the trip?  How long does it typically take between sending the package and it being delivered to the soldier.

I also want to put in some magazines like Maxim and GQ and Newsweek or something.  Is Maxim too racy?  Is that allowed?  (I am probably very naive but I truly don't know).

I was also going to put candy in there.  Would that be OK or would it be better to not put it in there as they need to be in shape?

Maybe a little game or a deck of cards or something, too.

What have any of you sent?  I have heard baby wipes are requested for soldiers in Iraq because of all the sand.

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Guest
Re: So sad today. My brother is back in the Army. (long)
Posted: Apr 14, 2006 7:54 PM Go to message in response to: newsjunkie

  Ok here's what my FH told me when he was there, EVERYBODY sends hygiene products to the point people had too many and would just put the boxes out for people to take what they wanted.  Sometimes movies are good, so are books, or card games (if you get a chance ask him some time in an email after he's there-then he can give you a better idea).  The biggest thing my FH missed was the candy here-he said everything there wasn't as good.  So I would send him his favorite candy because he can't get it there.  Cookies and homemade stuff can be good too, but he said the food was usually pretty good when they weren't on missions (and depending on how long it takes the package to get to him stuff can be stale).

   I do know that religous stuff is not allowed-I've heard they will overlook small personal stuff.  Any form of pork product is not allowed (aka pork rinds), you might have to be careful about Maxim (but I'm not sure, my FH just wasn't big on it and I wasn't inclined to send him that).  Other reading material is fine as far as I know.  You can find the info at the USPS website about what you can send.

   My FH really liked when I would send him little photo albums with pictures in it of us, our friends, his family, sometimes I'd tuck little notes in front of the pictures so he'd be sure to get them and they wouldn't get lost.  Oh and international phone cards are good too, if you have those you don't have to worry about using the courtisy phones with the 15 minute limit.  Be careful about sending anything with too much personal info on it as your brother will have to destroy anything like that when he's done and it can be a liablity.

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