Letter To A Soldier

Hey, Rob— As you prepare for your deployment to Iraq, I want to tell you a few things before you go. To start, I’m grateful.

Columns From: 12/1/2006 Modern Machine Shop, ,

Hey, Rob—

As you prepare for your deployment to Iraq, I want to tell you a few things before you go.

To start, I’m grateful. The price of freedom is not free, but some bear more of the cost than the others. The share you’ve accepted is enormous, but I’m sure you think it is small compared to the sacrifices of others in the military. The least I can do is say thanks.

To me, you are a kind of brother. Our wives are first cousins (but more like sisters), yet this slender family tie does not define the bond between us. The many interests and values that we have in common are held both dearly and deeply. Even though you have been stationed far away for most of the years we’ve known each other, we’ve never been out of touch. So having someone this close called away goes to the heart.

I admire who you are and what you do—a lieutenant colonel in the Army Airborne, a soldier, an officer, a guy who jumps out of airplanes with a parachute. Heck, I don’t admire that—I’m in awe.

Over the years, I’ve watched you move up in the ranks. I know how seriously you take training and every assignment. I know your commitment to the ideals of your service and your eagerness to serve, whether in Japan, Germany, Bosnia and now Iraq. Like any true soldier, you want to be where the action is.

I like to think that every weapon or piece of gear you touch is the best because of the skill in manufacturing that it represents. The importance of technology has never seemed more urgent. I want to believe that the industry I serve has served you well and will help keep you safe.

And that is my prayer for you—that you’ll be safe over there and will be back soon. I’m sure, though, that your most fervent prayer is that you’ll do your duty as well as any soldier ever has. May God hear us both.

Lastly, this: I’m proud of you, dude.

With love and respect,
Mark

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