Thursday, November 11, 2010
Reflections of a Soldier....by Craig Blow
Happy Veterans Day Kimchi and to all you military wives and your family members who have served. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made! Kimchi is letting me share a little bit about my service and why I serve.
Growing up in the country outside Xenia, Ohio, I remember spending sunny afternoons lying on the warm grass looking up into the sky at the fighter jets flying their training missions high overhead and dreaming about being a fighter pilot. I was always excited going to the Wright Patterson Air Force Base museum or the air shows nearby to see the planes up close. My dream as a boy was to be a fighter pilot, but as I grew older, I lost sight of this goal.
As a junior in high school, I learned about the Air Force Academy from a friend about to graduate and begin school there. He mentored me in the long and arduous process of getting a Congressional nomination and getting accepted into the academy. He explained the opportunities available upon graduation. In hearing that this route would reconnect me to my dream, I felt a heightening in my spirit and that I was back on the path God instilled in me at a young age. Through a long set of circumstances, rather than getting into the Air Force Academy, I got accepted into West Point. But, I didn’t find out until two days before I was to report for Beast Barracks, their basic training. I knew right then that God kept his hand on me the entire process and this was certainly the path He chose for me.
God blessed me with decent grades at school which allowed me to get into my branch of choice—Aviation. Upon graduation, I went to flight school and began my career in the Army. God’s path for me led me to Fort Bragg, NC, where I was blessed to meet my wife, Kimchi. I can’t say enough about the support she’s given me and encouragement each day since then. God is certainly right that a good wife is indeed a blessing from the Lord.
My Army career has led me on a couple deployments away from home. First, before Kim and I were even married, we were separated for my counter-drug mission to the Bahamas for a total of eight months. Yes, that was hard duty! But even though I was in the tropical Caribbean, I was still separated away from Kimchi. Several years later, we PCS’d to Hunter Army Airfield, and I deployed again for 12 months. Because I was going to a combat zone, this proved more stressful for Kimchi than for me. But through it all, we were both able to rely on God for strength in overcoming the situation.
A year and a half after returning, I was moved to be the battalion rear detachment commander for the surge deployment of 15 months. During this time, I saw firsthand how supportive wives can make deployments so much more bearable for their Soldiers. In dealing with numerous issues at home base and in Iraq, both the families and Soldiers overcame numerous ordeals, and we constantly worked with them to be available to support each other. The spouses of our Soldiers showed courage and bravery like I’ve never seen before. Through thick and thin, they always came through with strength to deal with the demands of deployment. I gained a new found respect for military wives during this assignment!
In return for the spouses support, every month our battalion took about 30 minutes of video footage of their mission in Iraq and recorded shout-outs from a number of Soldiers to say hello to their families. I played these videos at the monthly FRG meetings, and the spouses always flocked to see the footage of the mission our unit was executing and a glimpse of their Soldiers too. I was just proud that I could be the conduit between the deployed Soldiers and their families and support wherever and whenever I was needed.
I am proud to serve our great country, and to contribute to protecting our freedoms. I know you too share in this pride and this Veterans Day gives us the opportunity to take a few moments to reflect on it. Thank you, military wives, for the service you provide in giving constant support to our service members!