Jarred from a reasonable period of sleep, it's pitch black and the tactical radio seeks me. "Control ... Toad. Go ahead." "Toad, need to patch a call through to you." "Control, Toad copies."
(*ring*) and answering with years of ingrained military protocol, I knew it was from the other side of the world due to the delay in all the sounds. It was my wife calling from her home installations deployed support center--using one of her allotted calls. I was remote to the sandbox. This starts what is to be a phone call that no deployed US Warrior wants to hear. "Honey, first off, I'm okay." WHAT??? Okay? Why wouldn't you be okay? What time is it o'er there?
For that matter, what time is it here? (Deep breath, deep breath) which is her signal to lay out her story in a staccato format. "I'm okay, the car is totaled, I was the second car through an intersection and was T-boned by an inattentive driver. "INATTENTIVE??" No kidding. "I'm okay, but the right front wheel was sheared off and all the glass was shattered, and the doc's have checked me out, and it shouldn't be more than bumps and bruises."
The adrenalin rush to "do something" is mighty fierce at this point.
I'm 9 time zones away, my best friend, my fellow US Warrior, my soulmate ... my wife, has almost been taken out by a stupid person, a half mile from her home. What do you do? Fortunate for me, she had thought this out too. And rattled off all of the actions she'd taken; police report, insurance, a "real" doctor looking her over, a rental car to continue life, and once again she repeated, "I'm okay."
With that I sat back down on my little folding metal chair, one of two in my tent. Realized that in the order of things, I owed a quick prayer to the Almighty to say thank you that my wife was "okay." And then rolled in a quick blessing for all the people that were on-scene that helped my wife. And then to my wife -- a very smart lady with loads of gumption. She had always had in her cars glove box, that little checklist that the insurance company includes with each annual renewal. It was what had set her course of actions better than anything that I could have contrived, at 3AM.
My wife and I have reversed roles again. I'm wonderfully in the supporting role, mindful of everything that I need to do, so she can stay focused. Each of our US Warriors know their jobs and execute them with precision after years of preparation. But the curveballs of life, are a bit tougher to deal with. My wife was thinking, long before she called me, about the questions and concerns I'd have -- she climbed into my shoes for a moment -- and put my mind at ease. We talked a bit more then we had to give up the phone line ... a phone line that possibly any other night would not have been available. I climbed back onto my cot and thought, "okay--she's okay. I'm okay. We're okay."
Surprises and troubles are inevitable while our US Warriors are away. Being able to reach them is ever difficult or impossible (I was fortuate--right place/right time) Knowing how to handle ourselves, and that we're ready and able to make smart decisions with the help of others, keeps their minds focused on their tasks at hand -- and in the backs of their minds they will intuitively know that we're all "okay." Are you ready?