I would like to introduce you to the man of my dreams, Curtis. He’s a Soldier and now the Facilities Director at White Horse Youth Ranch. I met Curtis on Match.com when he was still in Afghanistan. Our friendship slowly grew into a cherished love several months after he returned. I actually found this letter when we were unpacking at the Ranch. My heart felt each emotion Curtis was trying to express to his daughters while he was serving overseas. I asked if I could share this with you in hopes that it might give you an insight to what the men and women of our country who give of their lives every day to protect our hopes, dreams and Country. I especially thank the families of these amazing soldiers who have sacrificed time away from their loved ones for that same love.
Sadly, for some, the war never ends. Thanking y’all will never be enough to bring back all you have given or lost. Y’all will always be in our hearts. WHY Ranch will begin a special “Social Club” for combat veterans who want to share their experiences with other soldiers in January, 2017. I hope to see you there.Be Greatly Blessed.
LiLi & Daughter,
It has been four months, eight days, several hours and countless minutes since I left you.
I miss holding you in my arms and watching you grow up each day. I wanted to let you know that I am safe. I have brought a little of our memories together with me to keep me sane…. and have named each of my weapons after your favorite Power Puff Girls: Buttercup, Blossom & Bubbles. I know this is unusual, it helps me remember you are with me and that protecting you from the evil in this world is always on my mind.
We have a few American conveniences that help us through our free times when we are not on mission. Some of my soldiers play video games or watch movies. I spend my time reading, working out and calling home as much as possible.
I stepped into another world over here and there isn’t much average about where I am or what I do. We are in a constant state of uncertainty… our enemy sees to that. One of the first things we learn here are nouns like, “Indirect fire” called IDF or “Small Arms Fire” SAF and every kind of suicide bomb; “Improvised Explosive Device” IED; “Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device” VBIED; SVBIED and so on. One would be amazed at the number of really ugly ways the Taliban, Haquani or Al Queda are trying to harm us.
As a Convey Commander (CC) of Gun Trucks I receive a mission from Higher HQ, usually specific in nature, but how I carry out the mission is up to me. I bring in my assistant CC and possibly my Mission Coordinator (MC) and work out the way we are going to carry out our task. I assign and task out what needs to be done and start the paperwork. HQ waits for my briefing on what I am doing to do and how I will achieve my goal. The real mission on my mind is the safety of each soldier in my troop.
There are constant mission changes! I adjust fire and change my mission to reflect the new changes. Preparation time: making sure all vehicles and troops are ready to roll. I rehearse Battle Drills, Medical Drills and go over escalation of force rules and rules of engagement.
Mission Execution Time! Time for the rubber to hit the pavement. This is usually where all the bad stuff happens, out on the open Afghani roads. I wish I had the capability to be able to draw an accurate view of what the city of Kabul is like… the air is the worst in the world. Kabul has over 4 million people living in a valley city the size of Las Vegas with mountains reaching over 20,000 feet high. Barely room to breath. Sometimes, you can taste the pollution of human waste, gun-powder and strange incense. I still hope that I will one day see the perfect blue sky and hear the sweet songs of birds welcoming the morning.
“Normal” isn’t a word to describe a 24 hour day with the constant knowledge that at any moment our lives could end because of the unrest of this side of the world.
Our mission isn’t quite over until we review what we accomplished during the day after we get back to the Forward Operating Base (FOB): what we did well and what could be improved upon. Eat, Rest, Repeat. We don’t get any days off when we are abroad protecting the precious freedom of not only our country but of the people we hold close to our hearts, like my lovely daughters… the only things I live for.
My girls, I am good at what I do. My greatest accomplishment has been to keep all of my troops alive. I pray that I will bring each soldier home to their loved ones. My job isn’t always easy, but, I believe that this is what God has called me to do at this time in my life.
I miss you. I love you. I will see you as soon as I can. Love Dad
Thank you to all our Veterans & their families today & every day...
~ God Bless!
~ Lavish Three ~