Line of Duty

My husband and I just returned from a camping trip. We enjoyed the wonderful changing colors of the landscape. I am so grateful for this day, this life and this world of natural beauty.

We got back home about 3 hours ago and the first thing I did was take 4 days of soggy, wet mail from the mailbox. There was a letter from the Department of the Army addressed to my husband. Of course, I immediately alerted my husband who immediately opened and read it. Enclosed was the Report of Investigation Line of Duty and Misconduct Status Report plus the State of Medical Examination and Duty Status Report.

Department of Army, your black and white army speak reports state that the soldier reported for weekend duty, was released for the evening and didn’t return at the appointed time the following morning. A welfare search ensued. He was found deceased in his vehicle. Medical Diagnosis: Acute Ethanol Intoxication.

I’m sorry Department of Army, but you missed a few sections in your reports. My husband’s son (my stepson) completed several overseas missions including Afghanistan and Iraq. Our boy, who had a huge fear of flying, shoved that fear down and sat in the cargo hold of a shaking plane, dropped out of it in the dark, landed in the desert and waited for his contact in hostile territory.   Your reports are incomplete. He couldn’t sleep at night due to recurring nightmares. Not just nightmares, but images of things he had actually seen and done while serving his country.  Flashbacks that haunted him, kept him up at night and ate at his soul. Yet, he would willingly do it all again because he was a good soldier and a loyal soldier. Army was structure and it was how he functioned best. He was a brave, loyal, honest, sincere, kind, funny and loving person. He was a loving and devoted father to his sons and he was a beloved son to us. I don’t see that in the reports. Department of Army, you get a flunking grade for those reports. They are incomplete.

We tried to help him with everything we had in us. Several times he went to detox but not for the right reasons. He didn’t try for his own sake until the last time of rehab. Finally, he really wanted to beat this addiction and recover. We were so hopeful! Thrilled!! Everything we hoped and prayed for was coming together and we could just imagine a much better life for him. He stuck with it for the full 30 day inpatient program, made his own arrangements to get back home and had already set up an appointment with a counselor locally. Our boy had just been released from a 30 day in-patient alcoholics program of which he voluntarily entered.  Life was good. Three days later, he was dead.

I’ll never understand it. But, I would like the world to know that I couldn’t be prouder of him. He did the absolute best he could.  Shouldn’t we all?

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