With several Army deployments since 9/11 (including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq) it is particularly tough to be away from home for a third time. Fortunately, even though I am stationed at a remote base in the mountains of south-central Afghanistan, I have a guardian angel back home in Terre Haute who makes this deployment just a little bit easier.
I am referring to one of the unsung heroes of the home front, Connie Conway. Connie and her husband John have been faithful supporters of U.S. troops around the world. On this combat tour, Connie has been particularly thoughtful. She regularly takes the time, effort, and money to buy snacks, wet-wipes, and numerous other articles nearly impossible to get in a war zone, package them up, and mail them to me.
And mind you, this is all done at her own expense. There is no better feeling than to get one of her care packages. And while we all appreciate the contents of the packages (it is an Army tradition to share your good fortune with your battle-buddies), it is an even greater feeling to know that we are not forgotten in the war in Afghanistan.
While there is great emotion and debate in America about the course of this war, the troops on the ground here focus on the mission and the lives of their comrades. The U.S. and our coalition allies have accomplished great things here. I know; I was first here eight years ago. I can see the progress. Guerrilla war is frustrating, difficult, and requires great patience and discipline. Now is not the time to cut and run; that would be a tragic mistake. Afghanistan has hope for the first time in decades.
The U.S. and our allies have invested the blood of our men and women in uniform; their sacrifice must not be in vain. As difficult as this was for me and my family, I know that in the light of 9/11 we must be ever vigilant, and ever ready to sacrifice.
The troops here know that. And people back home like John and Connie Conway know that as well. It is their support and prayers that make all the difference for those of us with boots on the ground. On behalf of all of the troops of Indiana’s 76th Infantry Brigade, thank you, John and Connie, for all that you do; God bless you.
— Lt. Col. Hal Johnston
76th Infantry Brigade
Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan