Thank you to USMC Life for publishing me.
I’d been deployed to Afghanistan for more than a year and my family was eagerly awaiting my return. My plane was ready to touch down and my family was awash with emotions; while they were excited with my return, they were also worried about how it would impact the routines they established while I was away.
Ever growing impatient for the plane to arrive, they truly wanted to get the dog and pony show over with and finally have me back home. It was my third combat tour in five years.
What they didn’t know, what none of us knew, was that this would be my final return. In my mind, I was a careerist. I’d been in for over nine years, was anticipating promotion to E-7 soon and looking forward to being halfway to my 20 year letter. My family knew the ins and outs of DEERS and Tricare. They could parse military speak just as well as anyone. We were all in it for the long haul.
So when a nagging cough I’d picked up proved to be a career ender, it was a shock for all of us.