There is an old marching tune that goes,
"Here we go again,
same old stuff again,
marching down the avenue
many more weeks and we'll be through."
As I start the process to mobilize for a second time that particular song runs in the back of my head.
I have been in an Army uniform now for over twenty years. I enlisted in January 1987. By May 1990, I was a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve. I served one weekend a month and two weeks every year until 2001 when everything changed for Reservists and Guardsmen. I deployed in 2004 after joining a unit I knew full well would be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. I wound up in Baghdad for 9 1/2 months. I kept a journal during that deployment as well.
In December 2007, I heard the first faint rumors of having to return again. It made sense. It had been four years since the last deployment and the Army went through a lot of Reservists to get to me and my unit again. Just to put this into perspective it was an election year back then too. By March I knew this was going to be a reality later in 2008. I have a good idea of where I am going, but "Mother Army" is notorious for changing her mind. For now I know I am returning to the CENTCOM region (read Southwest Asia). The other details will have to wait until I am there.
Friends, family, and others are asking me how and why we (Soldiers) do it. Why do we stay in the Army? How do we manage two, three, or more tours when we are just Citizen Soldiers? There is no answer that people can completely understand unless they have served. Duty is a word that means more than just doing our jobs.
We just do it. We might complain. We might worry. We might look forward to it. But, basically, we find that cadence and simply march along.