Sunday, July 31, 2011


The sound of a door slamming resonates through the plywood walls of my shack.  I’m now awake and my senses are slowly recalibrating to my surrounding environment. I feel the breeze of a fan in my room as it crosses my face.  Another day of uncertain events has begun.  I take a deep breath, stretch and then crawl down from my elevated bunk. Everything is perfect until I glance at my clock; it’s 8:56 AM. Oh shit, morning report is at 9:00 AM. My body is slowly adjusting to the time difference here from home in the U.S.; eight and a half hour difference.  My internal alarm clock has shorted out but I’m confident with time it will reset.  I quickly throw on my army combat uniform (ACU), grab a red bull and cliff bar then sprint out the door to the FST close by. Two minutes late, but no one seems to notice as they are immersed in there grand conversations and medical demonstrations.  As I sit down in a vacant seat two of the enlisted soldiers across the way are steering at me. Their steering turns into laughter. “What?” I ask. They quickly point out to the entire room that my undershirt is inside out, and the back tag is just under my chin. I speedily tear it off and act like nothing happen.
Today, we are supposed to undergo a mock mass casualty. A time was not mentioned when this will occur but we were told to be available and we will be notified. Nothing else was in the pipeline for the day so Joe J and I decided to assault the gym. On the way I noticed an Afghan national army (ANA) soldier guarding six local Afghans with an AK-47 slung low around his waist.  They were working on building a bomb shelter in a common area of the base. I’m somewhat uneasy about this arrangement at the moment.  Could they be insurgent informants pursuing wicked intentions, looking for weaknesses in our defense that will be exploited at a later time for carnage?  There are many possibilities and I don’t foresee my anxiety being coaxed anytime soon.  We are unwanted foreign fighters in a foreign land.  The few that benefit from our economic generosity my tolerate us, but the “many”, will rejoice in our demise. Would it be any different if a foreign legion invaded our home land? Remember our purpose here.  It’s to bring the fight away from us and to them; to protect our children, wives, family and future generations. The burning question, can we ever gain security in the eventual handover of this task to the Afghans?  In a population mostly devoid of education and reasoning is this possible? We seem to be in a weak win and strong loose position.   Winning encompasses a singular purpose; trying to keep the fight here and not back home.  The losing side is “king” at the moment and likely never ending. There is an unfounded hope a democracy can succeed in a country that is uneducated and knows only war and conflict.  We are now sucked into a quagmire of no return, and the “many” will continue to fight our every step to bring them out of the stone ages.  A sustained Afghan effort after a mass exodus of U.S. troops and coalition forces will falter; allowing this insurgent haven to reform and prosper with increased hatred toward the western world and aiding allies.  In summary; this situation sucks.  That was a tangent I did not see coming. 
The Mass Casualty (MASSCAL) training event went well. Afterward, we had a unit meeting to discuss details of the event and to gauge preparedness of individual team members.  Tomorrow is show time and the anxiety is slowly increasing; it’s the unknown.  There is no predicting or speculating, no magical science, you just need to put your game face on or have it very nearby.  Trauma in this environment is usually tactically movement dependent; usually the surgeons will be put on notice to be ready; without disclosure of the specific mission. I feel confident in my team and in myself.  The experiences we have together will hopefully transform acquaintances into friendships, weak bonds into strong ones.  I don’t expect every situation to end up smelling like roses but as long as we function as a team with the obsessive focus of saving our brave United States military brothers and sisters I will sleep with a clear conscious. My family’s hearts, the hearts of the American people, and the hearts of freedom seeking people around this world are with us. God bless.
Talk to you tomorrow.
P.S. I miss my beautiful family, everything I do is for you.


Saturday, July 30, 2011


Sleep.  I’ve desired it for days and last night I held it captive for 7 hours until it escaped.  I feel refreshed, renewed and now positive thinking is trickling back into my being. I rolled out of bed, set my iPod to Jimi Hendrix, crack open a red bull and begin the day with a slight smile on my face.
 I never thought I would be content living in an 8X8 plywood room, but in these circumstances I could not be happier.  It’s my new shack away from home. This is the room that has been past between orthopedic surgeons for years as noted by their individual hand carved last names in the makeshift wood desk. In 6 months my name will added too, solidifying this life experience.  It’s obvious that previous inhabitants added their personal touches along the way. What will I add? If my wife was here this room would be renovated to the highest interior design level. Custom carpet, the highest quality paint, and a feeling of home; she’s always good at that. In my hands, simplicity prevails; a Phoenix-Fly tee-shirt on the wall.  I miss my wife. 
Today we began the transition of our team taking over forward surgical responsibilities from the previous unit. This is also known as “Relief in Place/Transition of Authority” or “RIP/TOA” in the military community. I quickly met the outgoing orthopedic surgeon yesterday and today he will school me with the in’s and out’s for FOB (forward operating base) survival.  As a surgeon on a FOB I cannot leave, thus I have been told I will be considered a “FOBette”. It’s not a gratifying name, and I have been told the “special forces” soldiers will surely make light of that, but my family could not be happier. Our FOB periodically gets attacked, but the majority of injury and death occurs on the outside the gates; usually on tactical missions.
What the military has really excelled at over the last decade is the echelon system of evacuating a soldier out of the theater. In this system a wounded soldier starts at a forward surgical team (FST) for triage and lifesaving stabilization. These are located at strategic points in the theater that conflict is most likely to occur, and they cover a set geographic location. Our forward surgical team (FST) is composed of 20 medical persons including doctors, nurses, medics, and operating room (OR) techs. The soldier is then moved to a combat support hospital (CASH) for further stabilization and some definitive treatment (depending on the severity). A “CASH”, is usually associated with a major military base in the country. This is followed by transfer to Germany, and then to a medical center (MEDCEN) within the United States. As you progress through these echelons the medical treatment capability increases.  If needed, soldiers can be transported through the complete system of echelons in about 48 to 72 hours; which has saved multiple lives.  My priority is US military and coalition troops, but we also support the Afghan national army (ANA), and occasionally the local Afghan population. I’m not sure how I feel about it at this point, but I may be responsible for treating an insurgent as well; following the Geneva Convention doctrine.
The first order of business was a long and tortuous briefing about varying responsibilities for FST members.  I was then introduced to the facility, orthopedic equipment and implants that are available to me, followed by computer training.  For being in the middle of third world country this is a modern medical operation.  At the end of our discussion we were told we would be doing a mock mass casualty tomorrow.  This will be our last step before our team takes over complete control of this FST Monday.
It’s been a long day and I want to capture more sleep. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
P.S. I love you Melissa, Turin, Talon, and baby Myla.

Friday, July 29, 2011


It's 3 AM and I'm awake.  It's not from the constant flyovers of F-15s or apaches, but rather a void within me.  I feel incomplete. My life has been filled with the smiles of my children, embraces from my wife, and a personal fulfillment as a father and husband. Where is that now? I'm 7500 miles away in a hot, dusty, war torn barren land. Nowhere near the hearts that my world revolves around. My son Talon had his second birthday yesterday and cried for daddy. My son Turin woke up in the dead of night 2 nights ago and went to my wife's bed and asked for his father. I feel incomplete, incompetent and neglectful to my family. Is it my fault? Not completely but try explaining that to two young boys who can't comprehend the reasoning for the situation. All they know is daddy's gone. Daddy's not there to throw their favorite blue ball or push them as high as they like to go on the swing.  I'm a void in their hearts. For all I know they may feel blame for my exit. It's not fair and it's surely not the weight my heart wants to bear.

I never went back to sleep, rather just stayed up looking into the darkness of my barrack.  I reflected on my feelings and tried to gain security knowing the days are counting down; like leaves off an autumn tree.  I don't wish my separation on any father and or husband.  I'm still at odds with our purpose here in this foreign land and hope to solidify my feelings to a positive light during my stay. Thankfully I'm on the side of saving lives and not taking them, although some consider taking lives here means saving lives at home; maybe.  I look forward to forging my own personal opinion during this deployment. When it comes to me you will be the first to know.

Today, two of the general surgeons made it out to JBad on a C130.  The other general surgeon and myself may be able to leave late tonight if the stars align.  We are starting to get a bigger push from our side and a constant pull from our commander in JBad.  Leaving this transient hell will have no objections from me. I'm tired, stressed and really yearn for stability in my new uncertain life. Getting back in the OR will also help bring me some normalcy; it's an escape from this war burdened reality. When I'm in surgery the world stops and my focus is clear; the patient. I love what I do and would trade it for NOTHING.

It's 10 AM and I'm in the first set of my workout when our lead ER nurse approaches me.   She excitedly tells me that the flight the other general surgeons are on now has 4 more spots available after some last minute cancellations. I initially was in disbelief. She informed me that we need to be packed and ready to go in 20 minutes. I dropped the weight clenched in my hand and rushed to the barrack, packed and was on a truck to the airport. The truck pulled through the security gate and parked next to a C-130 being loaded up. Talk about VIP treatment. Where was this hiding the last 3 days? Joe J and Matt H were already seated on the plane. We lugged our bags to the back of the plane and quickly took our seats and put our body armour on.  The plane was filled with other soldiers decked out in excessive ammo and multiple weapons; I felt out of placed and underdressed.  The plane taxied to the runway and off we went. 23 minutes later we began a "combat" decent into FOB Fenty (the actual base near JBAd).  We got on the ground we were greeted by the members of our team that were there, this included our commander Mike M. The rest of my day included touring the base and securing our quarters. Finally, my own room, privacy and quiet at last.

At the end of the day I was beyond exhausted. I have a feeling I'm going to sleep well for a change. My only request would be that my wife and kids were here. I miss them greatly.  Talk to you tomorrow.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wake Up Call

It's 2 AM and I'm abruptly awoken by an army of soldiers invading my tent; beautiful silence destroyed.  There were at least 20 of them.  I thought my team and I would remain in control of these dwellings but we have been ransacked. They were as loud as a International MRAP driving through. So much for my much needed sleep. I might as well get used to this until I get my 4 star accommodations in JBad which include a personal room 8x8 with a bed. The anticipation is killing me. In the end they quieted down too near civility after an hour and I tried to take some more sleep hostage. Two hours later the event repeated itself. I must be living "ground hog" day. Where's Bill Murray? I was at wits end so I got up, through my PTs on, and hit the gym to center my inner self.
Today, we were going to try in vein to find our way to the promise land. Our motto "Those that prepare to succeed will surely fail". We are being asked to push from our side while our unit commander Mike M, who is at JBad, tries to pull us there by increasing the rhetoric of our need.  The top priority is to get the surgeons there so an appropriate transition can occur. If not it will be a high-five from the outgoing surgeons and a pat on the back for good luck. We are planning a 2 prong attack.  The first wave will be the XO of our unit, the chief medic and two general surgeons (Matt H and Joe J). Matt H is not with our unit but he is back filling for another surgeon at a base nearby who was medevac out for unknown reasons. The second wave will be everyone who is left for a later flight. In addition, a lot of sensitive medical equipment is here with us, and that needs to find its way to JBad. We also confirmed no further rocket attacks occurred overnight.
It's now one PM and I just received word that the XO and chief medic made it on the flight with all the medical equipment. There would have been room for one more if there weren't so much excess equipment.  Results of wave one have exceeded expectation, but this is just one battle in the war to the promise land.
It seems a large part of the problem we are facing is disconnect between the army and air force. Lack of communication and egos seem to play a role in this situation as well. The two services disagree on what is the most important as a whole and then each defaults to their personal advantage. In this case             (outside of R&R status) air force personnel trump us to gain spots on birds out of here today. We need a unified military not individual services. All I know is when shit hits the fan they'll want to be our best friends.
The rest of the afternoon was a wash. We were told all flight slots were filled and not to even play the "wait and see game". We were told there may be a last minute flight to JBad at 1:50 AM but the air force would not disclose any information until 11 PM tonight; case in point for failure to communicate. I'm optimistically not confident anything will come of this.  It's really starting to frustrate the segment of our team who is already at JBad. They aren't seeing that we are making a large effort to get there and the newly formed tension toward us is without merit. I'm sure this is “just that time of the month” for them and all will be resolved with our arrival; someday.
If my cynicism is getting the best of me, let fate prove me wrong. I'll talk to you in the morning.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


After 3 hour of restless sleep I was awoken by a squadron of departing F-15's screaming in my ears. There is something adrenalin provoking when your so close to that raw power. Its origin surely is a result of my childhood fascination. I remember building mock fighter jets out of unused plywood in my younger years, closing my eyes and imagining I was an "Ace" pilot just like the movies I had seen.  I never lost that desire to fly and in my late teens started working on my pilots license. I completed it with an instrument rating, but never pursued the military aspect because my vision was lacking. I now makeup for that lost adrenaline through wingsuit skydiving, hence my nickname "Birddoc".  

I met my team for breakfast and then we trekked to the hospital for "combat theater" credentialing. This was a nonchalant meeting where I turned over my credentialing packet with the other surgeons and received a brief on do's, do nots, current war time trends, and future tactical plans. Some of the information was classified, so I'd have to take you down if I told you. In summary; it could get interesting and I like you better alive.

Joe J and I hit the "clamshell" gym after for a legendary workout. This  is a unique open air gym in the middle of the base. It has the makings of Venice Beach if it weren't in a third world, war ravaged dust bowl. The absence of beautiful women in bikinis doesn't help either. Afterwards we had a team meeting about ways to leverage ourselves on an earlier flight. The conclusion was to use rank and exaggeration to find our way onto the flight tonight to JBad. Our "ace" rank card is a full bird colonel who needs to get to JBad, and the exaggeration will be military operations need our medical assets to proceed with an important mission. We do have a legit memo from the Bagram hospital commander as well. 

The outcome was less than desirable. We played the game for 2 hour and still were unable to catch a bird to JBad.  My team and I are here to sustain the fighting force but instead they are fighting us. I guess we'll just take a number and pretend we love our vacation here in sunny Afghanistan. Better yet lets make a list of all the wonderful activities we could do. Take a stroll through the old Russian mine fields blindfolded, have a "who can dress most like Osama Bin Laden" competition, go on a hike in the mountains and play "who can find an insurgent". Vacations filled with sun, beaches, bikinis and booze are overrated.

Can't wait to see what we can accomplish tomorrow. We'll just be all that we can be in the mean time as an army of one aiming high.

Game Face

Game Face

It's 6 AM,  the tent seemed warmer than usual, and the air conditioner seemed to be working overtime. I assume it's going to be another day of record setting temperatures.  If all goes as planned I'll be leaving Kuwait for Bagram, Afghanistan this afternoon. I'm anticipating cooler temperature and a quick transition to Jalalabad (JBad), Afghanistan. JBad will be my new home for the next 6 months and where I'll be the only orthopedic surgeon for 200 + square miles. I'll be using my skills for our U.S. Troops, coalition forces and likely Afghan nationals. I hear it is busy this time of year, so I'm preparing to put on my game face.

Joe J and I hit the gym one last time and then we went back to the tent to organize our gear for the trip. Today has to be the hottest day thus far. Its not humid but my skin is bleeding sweat, and my thirst is unquenchable. Once our gear is ready a John Deer Gator comes to pick it up a transfer it to a preflight holding center.  The majority of the 20 person medical team is already at JBad. The remaining 7 member are here with me; this includes 2 general surgeons and myself. Our biggest excitement of making it to JBad outside of meeting up with our team is to get back to a pseudo "normal" life. We are told we will have our own air conditioned rooms, and other amenities including satellite wireless nternet. There is something about living in transient land that is unsettling as a person. Your life is in the delirium of limbo, and tiredness sets in from lack of motivation.

We checked in for the flight and were informed we are on lockdown for 3 to 4 hours. We are now POW's of flight manifest. Fortunately the tent is air conditioned so excessive bitching is on hold at the moment. An hour later my feelings took a 180 degree turn. The preflight briefing was to be held outside in the scorching heat. We all sat there sweating bullets from our balls (well most of us) for 20 minutes before the briefing began. It lasted 10 minutes and then we were told to move all of our personal bags and equipment on a pallet.  Honestly, if water was not in excess here we wouldn't last long. This heat is unbearable. I was informed after returning to the comfort of the holding center it was 126 degrees outside. I was so tempted to crack an egg on the metal walkway outside and videotape it to show you how hot it is, but the army doesn't issue them, just like children and wives; it's not on their priority list.

Two hours later we were finally loaded on buses and transferred to the airbase. We were loaded on a C-17 like cattle and made to wait in this metal oven for 1 hour. After sweating every electrolyte out of my body, the doors shut and we departed. The flight was 4 hours; which seemed like an eternity. It was very cramped and leg room was nonexistent. Conveniently, I forgot my earphones for my iPod so escaping this uncomfort for melodies of Zepplin and Zaza is gone.  We finally, began our "combat" decent into Bagram, Afghanistan. This is when a steeper approach is made to decrease the risk of small arms fire and other types of threats.  I was alert and full of nervous anticipation. This is a combat theater.  Trust no one outside of our military ranks and realize some people here would slit your throat if given the chance.

The first noticeable fact when I got off the plane was the temperature was much cooler.  We checked in and were fortunate enough to be met by 2 members of our team, MK (the CRNA) and the XO of the unit. They were held over because the flight to JBad was booked yesterday. I guess the soldiers coming back from R&R had priority. When Obama decided we were drawing down troops it shortened soldiers deployments and they were forced to take R&R sooner. This backed up everyone from getting to their assignments. MK said it would be Saturday or Sunday before we leave for JBad, not only because of this backup but also because there had been rocket attacks on our base today. It appears the  insurgent summer season has started; game face is on.

We were assigned tent bunks and ate a late dinner.  I'm beat and going to bed. Goodnight my friend


Monday, July 25, 2011


Today began with Joe J (general surgeon) waking me up to go to the gym. The scorching heat has made it very hard to work up the motivation. Your body is drained and fatigued but your mind is clear and refreshed. Frustration ensues on leaving the comfort of my air conditioned tent for the sandy Hell outside. It truly is amazing that some people believe civilizations origin began in this area of the world. Maybe it was God using Darwinian logic to separate the weak from the strong. The strong prosper and the weak die.  If I were bound to this sand blasting Hell for life, death could be the best option, but I’ll save that fate for the insurgent fuck’s since they are the reason I’m here. 
The workout was a nice reminder of life before deployment. It is a great stress reliever and I plan on making it a part of my daily routine.  It also gave me a chance to “Boot Camp” the other surgeons. Strong body equals strong mind. 
Most of the day was wasting time waiting for a briefing about when we are leaving. I’m fully expecting to be delayed further. Other physicians have been here for 5 days, so if we make it out of Kuwait it will be nothing short of a miracle. The inefficiency of the army to facilitate us to our assignment, to do the job they tasked us to do is mind boggling.  Imagine the wasted money spent for 3 general surgeons and 1 orthopaedic surgeon (also consider the 15 other physicians here) to sit on their asses and play par cease for a week.  Too bad we didn’t invade the Bahamas. If we did this would be a paid vacation and I wouldn’t be bitching so much. Just another reason our country has a 13 plus trillion dollar deficit. God bless America.
The 8 P.M. briefing was better than expected. We are leaving for Bagram, Afghanistan tomorrow around 5:30P.M. I have been told don’t hold your breath until you’re on the plane, so cross your fingers. The flight is about 4 hours. Since we are now entering hostile territory we are required to wear our body armor. Yes, it will help save our lives if bullets rain down on us, but it will be hotter than shit considering the C-17 has no air conditioning and it’s 120+ degrees here.  All I know is the temperature is slightly better in Bagram; leaving one Hell for a slightly better one. This slightly better Hell comes with common insurgent missile attacks, so I need to ready myself. Most miss their target; I hope that is the case when i’m there.
Talk to you tomorrow (or when internet is available).

Sunday, July 24, 2011


After 4 hours of sleep, I am awoken by the thundering sound of grade “A” American heavy metal; apaches. The slight initial confusion felt like I was living in an episode of MASH, but once I came too I realized I was just in Hell; I mean Kuwait. My body says stay in the comfort of my puny bunk-bed, but auditory senses convinced my body it is futile. Thus, I get up and head to the “facilities” for the daily bombing. As I open the door to the Hell outside a hot sandy blast hits me. 110 degrees and it is only 9A.M. I really just wanted to turn around and spend the day in the comfort of barrack air conditioning.
Today is very low demand. There is a briefing at 8PM for my flight to Bagram, Afghanistan tomorrow. Other than that the day is mine for the taking. I’ll be looking for a new car at the “Exchange New Car Sales” since I have time. Right now I’m car-less as I turned my leased vehicle in before I left. This is one of few advantages of the United States military during times of deployment. You can custom order a car and have it on your doorstep the day you get back. The prices can’t be beat. They have special discounts for active duty that are on deployment status direct from the manufacturer. I struck a deal and my new car will be waiting for me in January.
This afternoon the temperature hit 125 degrees. The wind also picked up sending sand blasting into every area of exposed skin; kind of like walking in a big hot sand blaster. The goal throughout the day was to tent bounce while you were going to specific spot, thus, keeping cool in this flaming shit hole. During one of my treks I was approached by a Saddam looking Kuwait civilian asking if I wanted to sell my iPhone 4. It was really out of context, and I was heading to the PX. I kindly told him to eat shit; in a nice way.  I guess they try to buy soldiers smart phones and resell them locally for 2 times what we pay in the US. For all I know he could have been an insurgent operative trying to steal my workout routine to make him and his buddy’s buff; you never know.
We had our meeting at 8 P.M. tonight. Any thought productivity would be a part of it was thrown out the window with vengeance. We learned we were bumped from our flight to Bagram for “unknown” reasons until Tuesday. Who should I thank for extra time here on the white sand beaches of Kuwait? Maybe Obama? I’ll write him the next chance I get. 
Living the dream in Hell. Talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hot As Hell

The cabin door shut behind me, and with it, all that mattered to me. The reality of the situation is solidifying, and my adventure has started for good or bad. The plane was hot and humid which precipitated thoughts of Hell in my mind.  I guess an air conditioning unit was not available to pre-cool this MD-11.  There were 252 people aboard, which included US Army soldiers, DOD employees, and civilian contractors.  It was packed and the heat did not bring much comfort. We all were informed we will be traveling through Germany to our final destination of Kuwait. 8 hours and 27 minutes to Germany. Luckily, I was give ambien and my plan was to sleep the majority of this first leg. Eventually the plane was secured and we began taxing to the runway. In an effort to show support the CRC cadre (the military unit that prepared us for deployment), and active duty airport staff were standing at attention saluting us as we left the gate. I felt a strong sense of patriotism; it nearly brought me to tears. Ok, it’s time for ambien, I’ll talk to you when I wake up.
I woke up 30 minutes prior to arriving in Leipzig Germany. Ambien did its job and I was now awake. The captain informed us it was 55 degrees in Germany. This was more than welcome as the Georgian sun was baking us near 100 degrees at Fort Benning. Our layover was about 2 hours. I filled my time with a bratwurst followed by a non-happy ending chair massage. Priceless.
After this short period of time we were re-boarded and headed to Kuwait. Flight time was 4 hours and 28 minutes. A sign stating “Welcome to Hell, we’ve been expecting you” would have been appropriate once we got off the plane. 120 degrees; I miss German weather, brat’s and massages already.
Kuwait City is hot and landscaped by different shades of brown and tan; green is non-existent. It was 120 degrees, and not humid. But let’s be clear its 120 degrees! If you give me the “But Its dry heat” bullshit, you can fuck off. I’m in Hell and the devil is laughing.  We were transported to a waiting area 10 minutes down the road to wait for a briefing, get water and use the latrines. There was no air conditioning and the few tents in the area were worse because there was no ventilation.  After 2 hours standing in the sun and roasting like baked fish we finally had our briefing and were again loaded on buses. Our next stop was Camp Ali Al Salen AKA “Tent City”. The ride was miserable, limited air conditioning, hot as piss and 2 hours long. We arrived at nightfall with the temperature now 100 degrees. Does this place ever cool down?
Talking to fellow surgeons did help time go by somewhat faster. It’s nice to know my experience and feelings are mutual. I expect to become much closer with them in the coming months. We will be involved in a very unique experience and the only way to survive is team work. You will learn a lot about them in future blogs.
I just got my room; a tent with 20 other soldiers. I feel like i’m in day camp all over again. The best part is lights can’t be shut off for “safety” reasons. Whatever. I’m going to try to sleep. I suggest you do the same.
I love you Melissa, Turin, Talon and baby MylaJ

Friday, July 22, 2011


"TODAY", is the day I can say I knew was coming for years. Years in the making.  From the moment I excepted a military scholarship, (11 years ago), for medical school, I knew there would be a day I would call "TODAY". Am I ready? A most definate "No", but my concerns would fall on deaf ears so what's the point. The year was 2000,  I was dating my now "wife", and joining the military seemed like a choice that was out of my hands. Medical school would be paid, the world was almost "not" stable, army life was one of ease and laziness, and my wife's father was a West Point graduate who instilled a sense of duty in his children. I loved my wife and if I wanted a future with her I had to go along for the ride. Then in my second quarter of medical school the unthinkable happened; "September 11th". The world changed and my life with it. All my Pre-conceived notion's of future endeavors in the US Army were set to a different beat.  We were sailing for the island of hostilities and endless war. This wasn't what I signed up for, but guess what; no one fucking cares. 
Fast forward to July 2011. A lot has changed. I am happily married to my wife Melissa, have 2 boys (Turin 3yrs and Talon 2yrs), and a newborn daughter (Myla 3 wks). Life was just becoming stable after years of tortureous medical school, orthopaedic residency, no sleep, stress, and did I say stress. 

"TODAY" was not in the grand plan of my life. The Hardest part of "Today", is leaving my family. I cried. There are so many what if's when you deploy. You know what they are so I won't hash them out here. I never realized how important my family was to me until now, when I am about to step on a plane to Afghanistan.  My heart is torn and spirits are being tested. Its hard to explain to toddlers why you have to go when they will never understand. There questions of "Why?" can never be satisfied. That really hard.

So, what is my mission on this deployment? I will support a forward surgical unit "FST", in northern Afghanistan as an orthopaedic surgeon. Considering 80% of war injuries involve extremities I will likely be busy. By the way, the most action occurs during the summer months. This is when all the insurgent pricks wake up from there winter slumber fortify themselves in the surrounding mountains and reek havoc on coalition forces and innocent by-standards. The ironic thing is I may be saving the lives of these insurgents as well as civilians and our military forces. 

It's that time. The plane and an uncertain adventure is ready. I'm taking a deep breath and closing my eyes. Now, I open them. I love you Melissa, Turin, Talon, and little Myla.  Next stop, Kuwait. I'll talk to you soon.