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A Salute To A Young Troop
JD Is Leaving For Afghanistan

Yesterday, I went to say "so long" to a fine young troop headed for Afghanistan. In a sense, JD is the story of what it means to be a soldier. A story that could be repeated over and over. A High School athlete, good student, supportive family.

As options go, if a youngster wants to forego college, the military can be attractive: training, preparation for a future career-one learned in the military, a cash bonus, travel, adventure. And, of course, he might have to go to war.

JD takes to the military. He breezes through the training. Becomes a military policeman-a dog handler. JD looks good and is in superlative condition. He Is assigned to the 10th Infantry Division, the Mountain Division. He goes to a school for war--how to detect IEDs (Imbedded Explosive Devices). JD is enthusiastic about it. His team will try and intercept IEDS, discuss with the locals what they know, the type of explosive, etc (this is probably not totally accurate but as JD will discover training and "real" are not the same).

As I dialogue with JD, I think, we've heard this before. It's the movie, "Hurt Locker," that won an academy award last year. JD is one of the characters in that movie, but his movie is real.

JD has a girlfriend. She looks kind of addled at the whole "goodbye" thing. Here we are saying goodbye and yet most of the town, the county, the state, the country, they're going on about their business unaffected and mostly uninterested while JD goes off to war. The sufferers immediately are the families: JD's Mom and Dad. It is a little surreal and can't truly be grasped.

I've been to war. I couldn't wait to get there, even as I was worried that Vietnam might get over before I got there. JD too is anxious to go. We are trained for war. Many of his buds have already gone. It is what soldiers do. JD is not cogitating his navel asking is the war right/or wrong or necessary. He's a soldier and this is what he does. God bless him and keep him safe.

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