Sunday, January 07, 2007

God Bless America

Yesterday I watched my best friend’s husband get on plane. I watched her say goodbye to her husband for the next four months. I watched a young father hold his young son so tight. I watched soldiers salute in an airport terminal. I watched three women bond together as their husbands left for war.

I also watched a major airline charge these soldiers the $85 ‘extra baggage’ fee when they checked their weapons. The airline holds the contract to transport these soldiers so they can serve our country. The day before I watched an NTSB worker hassle a young soldier in full gear about her chapstick and her lack of a quart size ziplock bag.

Major Ed Ronnebaum (husband of Donna) will spend the next four months at Balad Airbase, about 43 miles north of Bagdad. He is a critical care nurse and will likely be serving in an administrative role in the large military hospital there.

Ed is kind of a goofball. Quick to smile, often shares a joke, loyal to his friends, crazy about his wife and two sons (Chris, sophomore at KU, Mike, senior at SMNW), and their ‘daughter’ Snick (a feisty Burmese).

He is the highest ranking officer in the group of soldiers he’s deployed with. When we walked into the airport yesterday morning he was all soldier. Very confident, in control. Not in a pushy, control freak way, but a quiet confident way. The others all looked to him for something. It was cool. I’m proud to count him as my friend.

This was the biggest day of his military career. He was going on a deployment as an officer.

He joined the Airforce as a young man. Became an aircraft mechanic. Served in Desert Storm. Was stationed in Korea. He has worked very hard to move through the ranks. I believe he actually had to get out of the service and then reenlist to move from enlisted to officer. I think what he has done is very remarkable.

Donna did well. I know it was very hard but she knows this is part of the deal. She is crazy proud of him. Worried out of her mind.

I know that thousands and thousands of soldiers are serving in Iraq. You may know one. He’s my soldier…at least for the next few months. Please keep Ed, and Anna, Cruz, Paul and the redheaded kid whose name I never got, please keep them in your prayers.

I am, by the way, planning to write a letter about the extra baggage charge and the ‘chapstick’ incident. I may send it to everyone.


MUD said...

Please send me his e-mail address as soon as you get one that works. I will write him every once in a while. Thanks for being there for him & his. Dennis

Rebecca said...

I'd take his email address too. I know he could use all the encouragement possible. God bless him and all those others serving. BTW, this is a very, very well written post.

Rebecca said... post videos on your blog (Kristin taught me this) you go to youtube and find the video you want and to the right it will say embedded...well you copy and paste the embedded code into the body of your post and publish. Seems too simple huh? That's it though.