Thursday, October 25, 2007

New era communications

Recently, there was a rocket attack on a U.S. facility in Iraq where the son of a friend of mine is currently posted. The official U.S. Army press release noted that no one was injured in the attack. But she hasn't heard from him so she was a little worried.

That brings to point the wide variety of experiences parents and spouses have in communicating with their soldiers and Marines on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan. In remote areas, access to phone or Internet maybe nearly impossible. In other areas, soldiers may have access to web cams for direct conversations with loved ones.

My wife and I are among of the lucky ones.

Our son has been in Baghdad. He has a cell phone and cell service and calls almost every day.

The conversations goes like this:

Dad: "What's going on?"
Son: "It's going."
Dad: "What are you up to?"
Son: "Talking to you."

At this point, the conversation reaches checkmate. He can't tell us what he is doing. And we don't really want to know what he is doing. For the last 15 months, he has been living the war and we've been following it. Not much else to talk about.

But we feel very fortunate for the daily contact and, frankly, our day doesn't really start until he checks in (some days, he can' we speculate on what's going on and we are almost always wrong.)

A couple of Sundays ago, we received a phone call around 8 p.m. It came up PrivDirOff, which means our call blocker is off and it's the only way he can get through. At this time of night, it's usually someone soliciting contributions. But I bit and answered the phone.

He was there.

"Is there a problem, everything OK?"

"Everything is fine. We just got back in. How'd the Jaguars do?"

So here we are. It's 4 a.m. He's been out doing whatever he does and his top of mind concern when he's back is how the local NFL team did (they won by the way).

Unimaginable in wars past.


Infantry Dad said...

Oh yeah.
Those phone calls don't you love em.
I thought it was just us.
Hi Matt how ya doin? (me)
Ok, and you? (Matt)
Not bad. What you been up to? (me)
Oh, out and about. (Matt)
Where are you now. (me)
North of Kuwait. (matt)
Where north of Kuwait? (I'll stop the Me and Matt thing you can figure it out.)
You ok?
Yup, how's everybody there?
And on it goes.
What fun. I can't wait for the day that it's all behind us.

Nice post Mark, it hit a soft spot... ;?)

Airbornedad said...

Thanks, Dad..

And we thought we were the only ones :) It is good to hear from him and we appreciate the effort he makes. Still no firm date yet for the end of the deployment but very, very soon.

tiffany said...

my boyfriend is in baghdad as well. he has a cell phone as well as internet in his room. i usually get "i just wanted to let you know that i'm back from a long safe mission" instant messages. but when the baseball playoffs started his internet went down, so instead i would get "i'm back from a long safe mission, how did my cubbies do" phone calls. sometimes it seems like he's in a totally different world, those phone calls checking the score of the game some how made him seem a little closer.

Airbornedad said...


Thanks for coming by. I was hoping the Cubs would make it. A Cubs/Red Sox would have been a ratings phenom.
I agree the calls help make them seem closer.

I had hoped blog everyday this week but got slammed with meetings. Will be back at it tomorrow.

liberal army wife said...

we used to be able to IM almost nightly, with a web cam to see each other (but trying to use voice was frustrating, lots of half words and static) the nights we couldn't were not so good. Husband isn't a sports person, he often wanted to hear the minutia of the day, what the dog did, the cat's latest escapade, how traffic was on my commute home.

Dad - "north of kuwait"... they seem to acquire the same stupid sense of humour! husband at the big deployment parade ceremony - when I asked him where he was in the cluster - oh just look for me, I'm in green, with the hat....


Airbornedad said...

LAW - Priceless! Thanks