Sunday, March 4, 2012

March and a Major

Eight months down; a lifetime to go.

Seth and Major Overmeyer
On Saturday, we were surprised by a visit from Major Thomas Overmeyer, Seth's former company commander. The day Seth was injured was also the day Captain Overmeyer was promoted to major and transferred from D-Company. He said it was the best and worst day of his deployment.

Major Overmeyer caught us up on some of what happened after Seth left. After the day of Seth and Dilberian's injuries and the death of Private Waters, the company stopped foot patrols. This, of course, gave the Taliban more opportunity to plant more IEDs. However, because IEDs are non-discriminating weapons, they ended up harming the locals--maiming and killing Afghan men, women and children. This had the unintended consequence of turning the locals against the Taliban and to the Americans. The locals provided intelligence and help to our guys, and we returned the favor with employment and other aid. Seth's unit left the area having secured an important road and having built a school, police station and clinic. These also helped win locals to our side. Major Overmeyer said that intelligence coming back to them said that the Pakistanis who support the Taliban are losing motivation. After seeing the clinic, school and police station, they report that they can't compete with the Americans for the hearts of the locals.

It fascinates me to hear these firsthand accounts of what is happening over there because we don't hear about it anywhere else that I'm aware of. Major Overmeyer clearly took pride in what he and his unit had  accomplished, much of it, according to him, on their own volition. I wish I could have transcribed the conversation because I am leaving out so much detail, but it made me proud of our guys. It gave me hope that maybe what I see the wounded warriors go through every day is not in vain.

Seth's unit is coming home this week, so Seth will be reuniting with them in May sometime.

A Shout Out
I need to say thanks to Lena, the receptionist at the Soldier Family Assistance Center (SFAC) here at WRNMMC. The SFAC takes care of soldier families, and I am in there two or three times a week. Lena has been at the front desk since our first days at the old Walter Reed and has always been a bright spot in the day. She always had a smile on her face, called me by name and knew what was going on with all kinds of things. Last week someone else was at the desk so I asked if Lena was on vacation. The woman told me that Lena has a new job at Fort Belvoir. I was crushed.  I would have liked to say goodbye. I know Lena sometimes reads the blog, so, if you're reading this, Lena, thank you!

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