24 hours to go.
What goes through a Soldiers mind at this time? It ranges from the critical to the absurd.
I think about my family and worry about the challenges that they will face without me. I also think about the joys that they will share with me in pictures and video. I feel the ache of starting a long time of being physically apart from them.
I think about the mission. Ft Dix is no longer a concern. Kuwait, additional training, movement to Iraq, and learning the particulars of the area is a concern. What can I do to make all of those things smooth for my Soldiers?
I think about the packing that I've done and the identification of luggage. Everything I own or that has been issued to me is going into green duffle bags that look e-x-a-c-t-l-y like everyone else's green duffle bag. I think about what to put in my carry on in the event that everything is lost or misplaced (it wouldn't be the first time).
I think about the responsibility that I have for these Soldiers. I think about the obligation that I have to their families to train them, send them into harm's way, and bring them all home safely. I think about what else I need to do for those who will sacrifice so much - because I owe them everything.
I think about the laundry that I need to get done so that I can fly in clean clothes.
I think about my bed in Cortland and how much I will miss it.
I think about the good times to come - Thanksgiving, and the Holidays, where I serve (literally) my Soliders and share a meal with them.
I think about how I can be a good Civil Affairs Soldier. I think about how to do my job and enable my commanders to help the people of Iraq. The sooner they can establish/run/manage their essential services, infrastructure, and government systems the sooner we can all come home.
And then the process starts over. I think about my wife, my daughter, my son and how much they mean to me and how much I will miss them.
The clock is counting down from 24 hours until a new clock starts counting down 300+/- days.