Continuation of my going to war #1 post started here: https://starandlotus.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/going-to-war-1/
And returning from war #1: https://starandlotus.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/returning-from-war-1/
So, as I discussed elsewhere, I had became an alcoholic, and was forced to go through the military’s alcohol treatment program and AA meetings. It was long, and irritating to be forced to go through that, but I made it. Afterwards I was itching to go somewhere, anywhere, just to get away. Deploying seemed like a good opportunity. There was also an element of shame, and the need to atone.
Luckily, I had some training from my first deployment that was useful for a support role in a combat zone. I was able to work a deal and off I went within a couple months, again as an individual augmentee. It was a bit of an unconventional assignment, I was working for some NATO partners, primarily Italians in Western Afghanistan. Can’t talk too much about the specifics, but it was a non-combat role, although I did get to drive around off base a bit. Of course I volunteered for any chance to get out and about. Other than that, typically long days, 13+ hours for 188 days straight. It was a mostly quiet deployment, we only got mortared once, although places near us certainly experienced a lot more action.
The food was not so good, the Europeans just don’t have he same budget for food that the Americans did, so often people would want to help with guard duty to convoys to an American base down the road just for the food. Also, I ordered a lot of stuff off of amazon, powders and tuna, just to get in the routine of eating healthy.
This time there was a girl left behind. We had been somewhat serious, but it only started a few months before I left so it didn’t get the chance to really solidify. Still, I was hopeful, and we kept in touch, skyping occasionally. I had been jaded by the experience of my first deployment, but about halfway through we were still talking and I started hoping. Hope is the lies we tell ourselves to get through things. It’s a danger when you’re deployed, you build up in your mind how great things will be when you get back, then you get back and it’s normal and it’s a let down.
For the most part though, very successful deployment, and I ended receiving some recognition, a definite career booster. It was lucky, I was aggressive and in a position where I could build connections and help a lot of people. Towards the end, I really was looking forward to coming home though.