Letters from a Soldier

Participate in Precinct Caucuses and Township Elections

Dear Friends,

As I watch Iraq prepare for its next round of elections, struggling to find their way into democracy, I admire the courage of the people of Iraq.   Even though they are still learning to trust that their voice will be heard, they are willing to risk the threats of bombers at the polling places to cast their vote.  In America, threats of violence at the polls are almost unheard of.  In America voting is a right, one that many have died to defend.  I believe voting is also the duty and responsibility of every American.

I am often saddened when I see the complacency and lack of participation in our own democracy.  I have sat for hours as an Election Judge with only a trickle of people voting in a primary, or township, or school board election.  So many people complain about the quality of our elected officials at the state and national level, when they did not take the time to get involved at the start, at the party caucuses, to ensure we have good people, men and women of integrity, running for office.   We need honest people, willing to make the sacrifice and take time away from their families and careers, to serve the people of Minnesota.  The whole notion being a public servant and serving others is lost on so many politicians today.

I want to challenge each of you reading this letter to get involved, participate, and volunteer.  The Democrats, Republicans, and Independence Parties will all hold their caucuses on February 2nd, 2010.  There is no better time to come out and let your voice be heard.  Your impact at the local political level can affect the quality of the candidates everyone will choose from later on.  2008 was a banner year for caucus participation.  Let’s keep the trend going!

The second Tuesday in March is Township Day, when Townships throughout the state hold their elections and township meetings. These meetings are often poorly attended.   Some townships even struggle to find candidates to serve as supervisors or clerk.  While some decisions at this level are mundane, others can be critically important.  Decisions on road maintenance and plowing, to building codes and local zoning, will directly affect your lives.  Come out and get involved at the most “grassroots” level of government.

Lastly, volunteer to be an election Judge.  Election Judges are critically important to holding fair and accurate elections. They ensure that election laws are followed and polls are run impartially. Many precincts are short on volunteers for this position. Many long time volunteers can no longer help as much as they would like and fewer new volunteers are stepping forward to fill in the gaps.  Most Counties hold training classes during the summer in even years before the Primary elections in September. Contact your County Auditor’s Office and ask about serving as an Election Judge. 

Take Care and God Bless,

CPT Ben Wiener

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait 

Dear Friends,

As I watch Iraq prepare for its next round of elections, struggling to find their way into democracy, I admire the courage of the people of Iraq.   Even though they are still learning to trust that their voice will be heard, they are willing to risk the threats of bombers at the polling places to cast their vote.  In America, threats of violence at the polls are almost unheard of.  In America voting is a right, one that many have died to defend.  I believe voting is also the duty and responsibility of every American.

I am often saddened when I see the complacency and lack of participation in our own democracy.  I have sat for hours as an Election Judge with only a trickle of people voting in a primary, or township, or school board election.  So many people complain about the quality of our elected officials at the state and national level, when they did not take the time to get involved at the start, at the party caucuses, to ensure we have good people, men and women of integrity, running for office.   We need honest people, willing to make the sacrifice and take time away from their families and careers, to serve the people of Minnesota.  The whole notion being a public servant and serving others is lost on so many politicians today.

I want to challenge each of you reading this letter to get involved, participate, and volunteer.  The Democrats, Republicans, and Independence Parties will all hold their caucuses on February 2nd, 2010.  There is no better time to come out and let your voice be heard.  Your impact at the local political level can affect the quality of the candidates everyone will choose from later on.  2008 was a banner year for caucus participation.  Let’s keep the trend going!

The second Tuesday in March is Township Day, when Townships throughout the state hold their elections and township meetings. These meetings are often poorly attended.   Some townships even struggle to find candidates to serve as supervisors or clerk.  While some decisions at this level are mundane, others can be critically important.  Decisions on road maintenance and plowing, to building codes and local zoning, will directly affect your lives.  Come out and get involved at the most “grassroots” level of government.

Lastly, volunteer to be an election Judge.  Election Judges are critically important to holding fair and accurate elections. They ensure that election laws are followed and polls are run impartially. Many precincts are short on volunteers for this position. Many long time volunteers can no longer help as much as they would like and fewer new volunteers are stepping forward to fill in the gaps.  Most Counties hold training classes during the summer in even years before the Primary elections in September. Contact your County Auditor’s Office and ask about serving as an Election Judge. 

Take Care and God Bless,

CPT Ben Wiener

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

New Year Greetings from CPT Ben Weiner

Dear Friends,

As Christmas passes and I look back on 2009, I see a busy year.  For me this year has been about serving my country overseas and supporting the soldiers in Iraq.  I have assisted and supported the movement of 9 Brigades and almost 40,000 soldiers either into or out of Iraq.  I have worked numerous trips by Distinguished Visitors and General Officers to visit our soldiers in Iraq.  I have also assisted the few ill or injured soldiers that travel to Kuwait for treatment.  As the year winds down, we are preparing to redeploy back to Fort Lewis Washington and then on to Minnesota.  Another year and another deployment are almost complete.

I look forward to coming home to my wife and children, seeing my father and siblings again, and yes, even seeing the In-Laws.  My children have grown.  My youngest is almost 2 and has turned from a crying infant into a rambunctious toddler.  My oldest is in third grade and growing up fast. The girls are into princesses and girly things…and soccer.  My hope for the New Year is to find a way to be a bigger part of my children’s lives.  To not be gone as much and to be a more involved father.  To pass on a greater appreciation for Nature and the wonders of God’s Creation.

 I also want to be more involved in my community. I used to be an EMT and a volunteer fireman, a lifeguard and water safety instructor, and I even did a little community theater. I miss that kind of community service. I’m not as young as I used to be and the military can be hard on a body. With repeat deployments and long commutes when I am home, it is difficult to find the time to serve locally. I have a plan to change that. Hopefully it will work out and be “fruitful”.  Until next time, take care and God Bless!

CPT Ben Wiener

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait 

Dear Friends,

As Christmas passes and I look back on 2009, I see a busy year.  For me this year has been about serving my country overseas and supporting the soldiers in Iraq.  I have assisted and supported the movement of 9 Brigades and almost 40,000 soldiers either into or out of Iraq.  I have worked numerous trips by Distinguished Visitors and General Officers to visit our soldiers in Iraq.  I have also assisted the few ill or injured soldiers that travel to Kuwait for treatment.  As the year winds down, we are preparing to redeploy back to Fort Lewis Washington and then on to Minnesota.  Another year and another deployment are almost complete.

I look forward to coming home to my wife and children, seeing my father and siblings again, and yes, even seeing the In-Laws.  My children have grown.  My youngest is almost 2 and has turned from a crying infant into a rambunctious toddler.  My oldest is in third grade and growing up fast. The girls are into princesses and girly things…and soccer.  My hope for the New Year is to find a way to be a bigger part of my children’s lives.  To not be gone as much and to be a more involved father.  To pass on a greater appreciation for Nature and the wonders of God’s Creation.

 I also want to be more involved in my community. I used to be an EMT and a volunteer fireman, a lifeguard and water safety instructor, and I even did a little community theater. I miss that kind of community service. I’m not as young as I used to be and the military can be hard on a body. With repeat deployments and long commutes when I am home, it is difficult to find the time to serve locally. I have a plan to change that. Hopefully it will work out and be “fruitful”.  Until next time, take care and God Bless!

 

CPT Ben Wiener

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Halfway Home

Dear Friends,

It’s been almost a month since I wrote to all of you.  I’ve been distracted by other things, not least of which is discovering Facebook.  Not that I hadn’t heard of it, I had just never set up an account.  I’ve been posting some of my favorite quotes and some interesting internet articles.   In other news, I’ve also been selected for promotion to Major.  Now I just have to wait until a position opens up so I can actually be promoted. 

Last week a mission brought me up to Basra, Iraq to the 34th Infantry Division Headquarters.  I was impressed with some of the soldier’s attitudes.  Basra is a dry, dirty, dusty, demoralizing place.  I’ve lived on 3 different bases in Iraq, and been to many more, and Basra is the least improved of any of them.  Like you would expect, there were some soldiers who complained about the conditions, and rightly so, but what impressed me were the soldiers making the most of the situation.

   Some soldiers are taking the initiative and finding creative ways to make their tour more enjoyable.  I saw two soldiers who had built a mini skate park in a motor pool.  They had built a plywood ramp and a long metal rail to “grind” on.  These guys were good, too. Others have purchased their own inflatable pools and set them up in covered areas.  They have regular “beach” parties with their friends.  Even the Division Command Sergeant Major has gotten into the act and organized monthly BBQ’s for the soldiers.  These soldiers all realize that every situation is as good or as bad as you make it out to be.  A deployment can be a miserable, lonely experience or a time with your brothers (and sisters) in arms that you will remember for a lifetime.  Which type of deployment they have is entirely up to them.

   We are now at the halfway point of this deployment.  We’ve settled in, we’ve learned our new responsibilities, and soldiers are rotating home for 2 weeks of well deserved leave.  If it wasn’t for the heat, long hours and rocket attacks, it could be a normal summer back home.  Those attacks remind us how real the war on terror still is.  Our soldiers are a lightning rod for terrorists.  Drawing the terrorists here to the desert, keeps our families safe from attack at home.  As the frontline in the war shifts to Afghanistan, and we continue shifting responsibility and turning Iraq back to the Iraqis, I am reminded how unique America is.  We are the only country in the world to defeat a nation in battle, rebuild it, and return it to the freely elected representatives of the people.  Sometimes it is easy to forget how rare that is in human history.

Take care and God Bless.

 

CPT Ben Wiener

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Hello from Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

     It was a long flight and I am finally getting over the jet-lag.  We boarded the Bus to McCord Airbase at 2PM Pacific time.  After a 15 minute ride we weighed in our gear and waited 3 hours for our flight.  We took off and flew to Kansas to pick up some I Corps soldiers then on to Bangor, Maine, where we were greeted by several veterans and auxiliary members.

    I have flown through Bangor 8 or 9 times at all hours of the day or night, and without fail they are there to see us off or welcome us home.  As soldiers come down the walkway, they are there welcoming us, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service.   I asked one of the Vietnam vets why they get up in the middle of the night, day in and day out, to meet the soldiers.  He said that as long as he lived he wouldn’t let any soldier come home in silence, without a welcome, and without their country’s thanks, like when he came home from Vietnam.  The only thing I can think of to say to dedication like that is thanks. 

    After a couple hours in Maine we flew over the Atlantic to Leipzig Germany.  We were 45 minutes ahead of schedule when we arrived and with typical German precision we were back on schedule on departure.  From there we went to Kuwait City International Airport where we unloaded ourselves and our gear onto buses for a 2 hour ride North to Camp Buehring.  Start to finish, it was 30 hours actual travel plus 11 time zones from departing Ft Lewis to arrival at our destination.

    As soon as we arrived we had our ID Cards scanned to check us in and then sat through an hour of briefings before heading to our tents to download our bags and sleep for a few hours.  That afternoon we had two, hour long briefings and then we ate dinner and went back to sleep.  The next day we were up and out to the firing ranges as soon as the sun was up to verify our weapons were still sighted in.  At that point we were ready to head north into Iraq… but this deployment, I won’t be going north. 

    For now Camp Buehring will be my home away from home.  I along with CPT  Shane Petrie, and several Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO’s) will be in charge of receiving inbound soldiers, training and billeting them at Camp Buehring, and scheduling their flights North to Iraq.  The majority of the 34th ID headquarters will be located in Basra Iraq, a short 40 minute helo ride away.  It will be nice to be “away from the flagpole” as long as we are not “out of sight, out of mind”. 

 

Take Care and God Bless,

 

CPT  Benjamin Wiener

Camp Buehring Kuwait.

 

  

 

 

Greetings from Kuwait.

 

   Last week both my oldest daughter and my youngest son had their birthday on the same day.  It has reminded me of all events I’ve missed as my children grow up.  My children are almost 8, just turned 6, 3 and a half, and 1 years old.  By the time I return from this deployment, I will have missed between ½ and ¾ of each of their lives.  As my daughter turned six, I have already been deployed 3 years of her life.  I was there for her birth, but I missed her first words, her first steps, her first day of school, and many other firsts along the way.  The same can be said for each of my children, even more so for my youngest daughter, as I even missed her birth and almost all of her first 2 years.  I have been fortunate in that I have only missed one Christmas so far, but I have been away for far more of the other birthdays and holidays than I have been home. It makes me all the more grateful for the moments I have shared with my children.

     Another thing I am grateful for is that I am blessed with a strong and capable wife.  We were married 3 weeks before I deployed the first time in 1999.  This August we will celebrate, separately, our 10th anniversary.  Between 4 deployments, training for those deployments, and various other military requirements, I have been gone for almost 5 of those years.  The good part is that we still have an excuse to act like newlyweds every time I return.  The flip side is that she has had to care for our children and household without me, for almost half of our marriage.  Many times it seems that deployments are easier on me, than on her.  All I can do from half a world away is to be as encouraging as possible, and try my best not to take out my frustrations at being far away on her.  I’m not always as successful as I would like, but we both have learned to deal with the stresses of life apart.

     I am also thankful for all the help and support from family, friends, our neighbors, and our church.  They have helped with everything from watching the kids while my wife runs errands or attends meetings, to plowing snow off our driveway in the winter, to helping with home maintenance or questions while I’m gone.  I also appreciate all the letters of support and care packages that groups have sent to me.  The support makes the small hardships and little sacrifices of being deployed a little easier to bear.  It is always heartwarming to get a letter or package from home. It lets you know that you are remembered and that people care about what we are doing.  It always makes a soldier’s day just a little bit better.  On that note, I want to encourage everyone to take the time to find a soldier, sailor, airman or marine that you know and send them a letter, get a group together to send a package, or find some other way to let them know they are remembered.  I know it will make their day.

 

Take care and God Bless,

 

CPT Ben Wiener

Camp Buehring, Kuwait

 

Patriotism

What is patriotism?  As July 4th approaches I ask myself, why am I sitting here, 3000 miles away from my family and friends?  Didn’t our Vice President say paying our taxes is patriotic? Couldn’t I have just stayed home and done that?  For me the answer is clear, I could not say no when my country called.

Many of you know I grew up in a small town in “Greater Minnesota”, son of a Navy veteran and self employed electrician, grandson of hardworking farmers.  I thought about enlisting during the first Gulf War, but I was only 17 and it was long over before I graduated from high school.  I worked my way through college and finally enlisted for the college benefits.  I eventually went through officer training and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and sent off to the Army Missile and Munitions Ordnance Officer School.  I served three years on active duty, including 4 months in Bosnia.  After the birth of my oldest son, I decided to return to Minnesota and transferred to the MN Army National Guard, mostly because I wanted my family to have stability. 

That hasn’t worked out so well.  I left active duty just before September 11th 2001.  Since then, I have deployed 3 more times.  In fact, I have been mobilized more than I have been home since 9/11.  Every time, I could have “gotten out” of deploying if I had wanted to.  I have a disability due to injuries I sustained during a parachute jump.  I have to be medically cleared by the State Surgeon for every deployment and it takes significant physical training and physical therapy to reach that level.  I don’t even know how much longer I will be able to serve.  But the one thing I do know is that as long as I am able, I will serve in whatever way I can.  Patriotism isn’t doing the things you are required to do, like following the law, or paying your taxes.  It is a pride in our nation that drives you to make sacrifices to ensure our country remains the greatest nation on earth.  It’s a desire to put the others first, to go where others won’t, to do what others can’t, to keep our country free.  I took an oath to defend our constitution, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  I will uphold that oath and pass on a free nation to my children and my children’s children.

Not everyone is called to serve. In fact the percentage of the population who are in the military has dropped from a high of 12% during WWII, to the current low of less than 1%.  That is a very thin “green” line.  But that 1 % has been able to fight the war on terror with very little impact on the lives of the other 99%.  Some people don’t even realize we are at war.  Some of us will never forget.  Some of us are reminded anew every time we hear the “bombs bursting in air” on Independence Day.

 

CPT Ben Wiener

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Camels, Sand, and Raining Mud

 

Dear Friends,

 

It has been a busy few weeks here in Kuwait.  I’ve been travelling a lot.  Averaging a couple overnight stays a week and more days away from Camp Buehring than here.   I know the routes from my deployment 2 years ago so I usually drive one vehicle and show other drivers the routes to and from the various bases.  I think I have taken every possible route from northern Kuwait to southern Kuwait and back again. 

 

The roads over here are fraught with danger.  In northern Kuwait, you have to beware of roaming camels and goats.  Camels always have the right of way and if you hit one you bought it.  They come in 3 colors, the common brown or tan ones will cost you $1000.  The not so common white camels will cost you $5,000, and the rare black camels will set you back $20,000!  Paying for the camel may be the least of our worries as they are taller than a moose and heavier, too. It makes hitting a deer seem insignificant.   I always wondered what the camels eat in the desert.  The other day we found out…PITA BREAD!!  We saw a camel eating a bag (plastic and all) of pita bread that must have fallen out along the road.  Manna from heaven compared to the tough scrubby weeds that are barely visible out on the open desert.

 

In southern Kuwait, you have to deal with the drivers in Kuwait City.  Being a country boy, I don’t even like driving in the Cities back home, and the Kuwaitis make the worst Minnesota drivers look good.  With Kuwaiti women barely able to see out of their veils, Kuwaiti men driving expensive sports cars like it was the German Autobahn, and all the foreign nationals cutting and swerving all over the road, you are lucky to make it to your destination in one piece.  One example is on a northbound trip I was in the middle lane of 5 northbound lanes when a Taxi going 30-40 kilometers over the speed limit cut from the far left lane across all 5 lanes of traffic to take an off ramp at almost 80 MPH!  If I hadn’t hit the breaks, he would have clipped my front bumper.  As they say in their culture “en sha Allah”…  ‘God willing’ they will make it to their destination.

 

We also have to deal with weather extremes.  Whenever the wind picks up the fine sand and dust gets whipped up into a sandstorm.  So far we haven’t had a complete “brown out” but without good eye protection even a small amount of blowing sand can be painful.  It is kind of like walking into a blizzard, but instead of snow it is sleet pellets.  You end up with fine dirt and sand in your ears, in your hair and everywhere.  You want to get clean by taking a shower, but because the showers are outside you’ll only get dirty again walking back to your tent because now you are wet, and the sand sticks even better!  The good news is the storms usually blow over in a day or two and the dust settles out of the air a day or two after that.  The bad news is that is usually when the next one hits. 

 

Our last storm actually brought rain.  It blew in as a bad dust storm but about an hour in it started to sprinkle and then it started to pour.  It was great because the rain washes the dust out of the air.  Just don’t be caught out under the first downpour. It will actually rain brown mud that will stain your clothes and smear your windshield.  It was nice because even though it sprinkled and rained on and off for 3 days, we had the clearest air of the entire month of March.  We won’t have many more storms after April because once the air is consistently hot in May it won’t drop below 90 at night until it starts to cool off in October.    

 

Until next time

Take care and God Bless,

 

CPT Ben Wiener

Camp Buehring, Kuwait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friends,

What does Memorial Day mean to you?  Is it the first long weekend of summer?  A day to put in the dock or spend out on the lake?  Or does it mean more?  Memorial Day isn’t even about remembering all Veterans.  Memorial Day is our national day of remembrance for our men and women who have died in military service. 

Memorial Day began with a number of local remembrance ceremonies to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War.  After WWI the observances expanded to become a national day of remembrance for the fallen from all wars.  It was traditionally celebrated on May 30th each year, but in 1968 it was moved to the last Monday in May. 

Some feel that making it a three day weekend dilutes the meaning of Memorial Day as many travel and enjoy the first long weekend of summer.  Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, a WWII veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, is leading an effort to return Memorial Day to its original date of May 30th.  The VFW and several other veterans’ organizations support this move.  Others feel that returning Memorial Day to May 30th will relegate it to a second class holiday along with Columbus Day, President’s Day and even Veterans Day, with few people or businesses actually observing the Holiday.  Personally, I believe that as long as we remember the meaning of Memorial Day, the date we celebrate it matters less.

As a veteran who has lost friends and fellow soldiers, it has personal meaning for me.  On my last deployment I lost a good friend, SGM Mike Mettille. We had served together on 2 separate deployments.  He took the time to mentor me as young Lieutenant in a new unit and defined what it meant to be a professional soldier in the National Guard.  The battalions I served with also lost several soldiers, including Sgt. Corey Rystad, Sgt. Bryan McDonough, and Staff Sgt. James Wosika Jr. all of B Company, 2-136 Combined Arms Battalion.  I did not have the chance to know them as well, but I know they were good men who served honorably.  Many of the communities in our area lost young men in the Vietnam War.  Al Webb Jr. from my church in Hinckley was among them.  There are many more from Korea, WWII, WWI, and beyond that, as Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg address, “gave the last full measure of devotion” to their country.  Their devotion, their sacrifice should be remembered. 

Please, enjoy the long holiday weekend, but make time this Memorial Day to remember those brave young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our great nation free.

 

CPT Ben Wiener

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

 

 

 

 

Greetings from Kuwait,

It has been a busy month.  I’ve driven a couple thousand miles, and put in many 20 and 24 hour days.  34th ID headquarters with over 1000 officers, Noncommissioned officers and enlisted men made a smooth transition to their new location in Basra, Iraq.  One of the Brigade Combat Teams under the Division is close on their heels.  We’ve been assisting their advanced party prepare to receive their brigade, just as we helped our own division. Tensions have been high as both Camp Buehring and Camp Basra are at peak capacity with units coming and going at the same time.  Near constant dust storms have been wreaking havoc with flights, causing backlogs and long lines at the Dining Facilities and Post Exchange (think Army Wal-Mart).  Ensuring there are enough tents and beds for the soldiers has been a day by day challenge.  As one soldier leaves, another arrives to take his place.  The billeting offices at both camps have done a tremendous job tracking, clearing and reissuing tents, sometimes the same day! Hopefully things will slow down in a few weeks so we can take a breath before more of our units start switching out.

I have also made a move of my own.  With the conclusion of the 10th Mountain Division’s Transfer of Authority to 34th ID, I moved down to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait to assist with movement tracking.  I am still working on Deployment and Redeployment operations but focused even more on the Logistics side than before.  I have already started settling in and changing my mailing address and internet accounts.  It isn’t a big change as I will be working closely with the same group of soldiers as I have all along, just from a new location.  Camp Arifjan is a more permanent location than Buehring. Everyone is in hard buildings instead of a mixture of tents and trailers.  Arifjan also has its own well, so there are fewer water restrictions.  Camp Buehring has to truck in all of its water and it is rationed to about 15 gallons per soldier per day.  It was nice to be able to take a long hot shower for a change.  Of course, it was during a dust storm so I was dirty again as soon as I stepped outside, but that’s life in the desert.

Speaking of the desert, it is already reaching 115 degrees some days and is always over 100.  Don’t dismiss the temperature as a “dry heat”.  Anything over 100 is hot.  Forty degrees below zero in Minnesota is a “dry cold” but that doesn’t mean you won’t freeze to death.  Any time the air temp is higher than your body temp, you can get heat stroke just sitting still.  It happened to one of my soldiers on my last deployment.  Lying still in the daytime heat, when he was acclimated to working the night shift, nearly killed him. His fellow soldiers recognized the symptoms and were able to get him to medical aid in time.   We had several close calls last time, but all of my 232 soldiers came home safe.  I hope and pray we will this time, too. 

Take care and God Bless

CPT Ben Wiener

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

Greetings from rainy Fort Lewis, Washington. My unit, the 34th Infantry Division (34thID) Main Command Post, mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on February 10th, 2009.  I am a Liaison Officer to CFLCC (Coalition Forces LandComponant Command) in Kuwait. I will be responsible for coordinating the reception, staging, and onward movement of all units assigned to the Division as they move through Kuwait.  By the time you read this, I will probably be in Kuwait getting settled, and preparing to receive the first group from the Division.  It is not a glorious position but it is a necessary one. 

 

This will be my fourth deployment.  My first two were to the Bosnia with the 10th Mountain Division and the 34th Infantry Division.  The third was to Iraq with the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division.  Last deployment, I commanded a 232 soldier Forward Support Company with a primary mission of securing Forward Operating Bases in Baghdad and Al-Anbar Province.  It became a 16 month tour, the longest of any unit in Iraq so far.  Now, a little less than 18 months after my return, I am deploying again.  As a Company Commander there wasn’t enough hours in a day to complete everything that needed attention.  This deployment, I hope to find the time to write to all my family, friends, and neighbors back home by send a letter to the editor a couple times a month.

 

I hope to share with all of you a veteran soldier’s perspective on the deployment.  The struggles of being a husband and father of 4 young kids while stationed half a world away,  the frustrations of  putting your life and career on hold while serving your country, as well as some first hand experiences and some of the good news stories that you won’t hear in the main stream media.  I will write again after I arrive in Kuwait.  Until then, take care and God Bless.

 

 

CPT Ben Wiener

34th Infantry Division

Minnesota Army National Guard

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