PV2 Smith has been attending annual Training since her return back to Pennsylvania with her Reserve Unit. She arrived and discovered that her unit was preparing for deployment soon overseas, however she was at the time excess and not scheduled to depart with the unit.
Today that has changed - she was informed that she will be departing with the unit next week for training and subsequent deployment overseas. She called me as her father and we discussed the enormity of the implications for her life, now the delay in starting school and the work that must be done to prepare for deployment.
Many Reserve soldiers are similarly faced with the daunting task of completely changing their lives to prepare for and complete training and deployment. It is an emotional event in the life of any soldier and my 18 year old daughter is no different. Her friends, extended family and community don't really understand the calling, the feelings or the apprehension of going away for a year to a war zone to serve your country. Its a committment that we as a country don't always reward or recognized in proportion to the all out effort entailed by the soldier to serve with honor.
I knew this day was possible, and in light of the statistics for Reserve soldier deployments, expected it would occur soon. It is no easier having experienced the event as a soldier myself to see my little one getting ready to go...the only consolation is I know she is Army Strong - something that is more than a saying - it is a way of life.