February 6, 2011

It's Time

It has been a little over two years since I have joined the United States Marine Corps. All of the time and money that has been invested into me will culminate in my first deployment to Afghanistan. It's funny how people ask me how I feel, and quite honestly I don't feel to bad. Yet, at the same time there have been moments when I can't help but cry knowing I will be so far away from the people and the things that I love. On more then one occasion people have thanked me for my service to this Country, and I never quite knew what they were thanking me for. I haven't really done to much...yet.

Two years in this gun club and I'm starting to see a glimpse of what their thanks are all about. As I sat in my barracks room during the holiday season away from my family wishing I could be with them, I thought, "Well, maybe this is part of that, 'sacrifice', they speak of?" I think of fellow Marines who for several months will miss out on precious moments with their newborns and the companionship of their wives to be in a place that is so far away and so troubled. I think of families, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters who anxiously await the day when their Marine returns home.

Even then, as Marines we have trained for this moment. We are somewhat tired of sitting in garrison and are now ready to join our fellow brethren in accomplishing the mission. We have received our final training, all of our personal affairs are taken care of, our last good byes have been said, and just in case, our wills have been drafted. We are prepared! To leave all! To forsake all! To give all! Is it easy? No. I have yet to fully experience what it all entails. Yet, I choose to go! I was somewhat surprised to hear our Commanding Officer ask, "Who doesn't want to go? Let me know so I can find a replacement before it's to late!" No one raised their hand. So don't get mad at the good 'ol USA for sending us off to this place, we have chosen it for ourselves.

I thank you all who have offered prayers and wishes of safety. I apologize to those of you who have posted questions that I have not responded to yet. Some of them are a little thought provoking and I'd like the time to answer them as best I can. I hope to chronicle my experience of this deployment to help me remember this experience. Even then, there are somethings that I can not post in order to ensure operational security.

To all the Marines who will be coming home soon, thank you for the commitment and sacrifice you have made! I look forward to taking your place and doing my part! To my friends, I'm gonna miss the good times, and look forward to having some more when I get back! To my family, I love you all; know that I am safe in His hands! To readers of this blog, take some time and thank someone who is currently serving our Country; it means more then you think.

Wherever you may be, good night and good day!!

-LCpl Cuestas, Joseph