I was able to spend some time this past week with my brother Joshua and his family. I know, I don't talk about them. I'm a pretty crappy sister. Josh is in the Army (sorry, I can't remember his current rank) and has been stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky for around the past 4 years. He's been with the 101st Airborne division and does aircraft maintenance and repair. The last time I saw him and his family was about 2 1/2, actually probably closer to 3 years ago. In that time he has done a tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan as well.
He was here because he had to go to Phoenix this weekend for some schooling. He'll be there for around 11 weeks. His wife and kids have gone to Japan to visit her family while he's there. I'm really happy they stopped here for a visit first. It was so nice to be able to catch up. Once he's done with schooling, he's being transferred to Fort Riley in Kansas. So, the likelihood of seeing him often is pretty slim.
I was able to look at pictures with him from his tours and listen to stories. He doesn't do combat, but has gone on a couple of missions. He mainly prepares the air crafts for the missions. He carries a weapon, but has never had to fire it. He showed me footage of actual battles that took place in Afghanistan and it was strangely surreal. I, of course, know that horrible things happen there everyday. It's just that this was the first time I had actually seen some something real. It gave me a whole new perspective and appreciation for the soldiers who are there or who have served there. I also have an entirely different idea of the people who live in those countries. And it's not bad. I actually have more empathy for many of them. I can't adequately express and articulate all of it here. It's something better said in person. Suffice it to say, I learned a lot.