When Doug said he wanted to join the Armed Forces to pay for school, I said "NO! Absolutely NOT! What if you have to go to WAR?!?!"
But there was no war. Just the potential for a lot of debt. So we kept thinking about it.
Then there was 9/11 and I said, "Okay, now you REALLY can't join! We're going to go to WAR!" And he said "Now I really WANT to join and serve my country!!! Besides, what are the odds I'll be deployed?!" (Slim to none, according to the recruiter. That was when the war was just a baby.)
And I was proud of him. And I didn't want all the debt. So we joined the Air Force and went merrily on to Dental School.
(And in case you think we're debt free because we joined, think again. In fact, think in the 200k range. We went to school in San Francisco.)
Fast forward to now. Turns out, had Doug not decided to do PEDIATRIC dentistry, there are very good odds he would be deployed to a war zone at some point. BUT, since he's the only Ped Dentist on base here, he's not going anywhere. (Except on a humanitarian mission to Thailand. But that's only for three weeks.)
Unlike his office mate/sponsor/best buddy Merrill. A Dentist. Who is--right now--getting combat training in America before being deployed to Afghanistan.
Merrill gave me permission to reprint this letter he sent us. (See below.)
I thought it was a good reminder to everyone back home that there is, in fact, still a war going on. And families who are already serving their country in BFE, I mean JAPAN, still have to have their spouses deployed for LONG periods of time!
(Deployed spouse + living in Japan = not a lot of help available from family back home and a long lonely deployment! Currently, there are three families in our church branch with deployed spouses. And more deployments coming in the new year. Our Branch President was deployed months ago and had to be released. He's still gone. His wife and four kids are still here dealing with it.)
Anyway, here is Merrill's letter:
(FYI, he is in the Air Force, but being trained by the Army.)