Round Two. Red Arrows vs. Iraqis. The process for deployment of the Wisconsin Army National Guard 32nd Brigade (Red Arrow Division) begins today. The soldiers – more than 3500 of them, the biggest in the division’s history – reported early this morning to their respective armories throughout the state. Before long, they’ll be boarding buses and heading south for three weeks of training. Then they’ll get a bitty break and there’ll be more training. And more training. And then they’ll ship out.

Yup. We’re a military family again. Not that we haven’t been, but we feel it more acutely during a deployment. Our oldest son is one of those Red Arrows getting on the bus this morning. This is his second deployment and you’d think we’d all be used to it by now, but we’re not. Oh, we know the ropes – packing Matt’s stuff into storage…living will…joint banking accounts…contact info…car keys… On the outside we know exactly what to do. Not so much on the inside, though.

For the next year, we’ll all be in a different kind of place. Missing one another but trying not to let it affect us too much. Constant preoccupation yet trying to keep constantly busy. Worried yet hopeful. Scared yet trusting in God’s power. Tug of war, literally.

We don’t like the danger and separation, but we’re not going to let it make us bitter. Military service is a calling, and Matt’s been called. And because he’s been called, we’ve been called. So we answer the call together, as joyfully as possible, placing our hands in the hand of Divine Providence.

Categories: Blog


Pam · January 10, 2009 at 10:15 pm


Yesterday I waved goodbye to my son, Mark, who is also with the 32nd Brigade. Mark was with the 1-128th deployment 3 years ago. So I too have been in this place before. Twice actually. I have another son who is active Army and just returned from Iraq 10 days ago. But he is a mechanic & was behind the wire for the entire 15 month deployment. Though that was little comfort.

My walk with God has been so strengthened by these deployments. Still, I would not wish this experience on any parent. Truly, when I found out Mark was going again, I cried. I did not think I could go through it yet again.

When Mark went the first time I was fortunate enough to connect with his Battle Buddy's mom. We called ourselves (don't laugh) the Battle Buddy Mom's. We even had BBM hoodies made which we wore for months and then to the homecoming ceremony. She lives 2 hours north of me, but we held hands via the internet for the whole deployment. What a blessing to go through it with another mom who knew the terror of a son at war.

So I really appreciated your blog. I will pray for your Matt and all our guys. Sending you a Battle Buddy Mom hug. We can do this!


Marge Fenelon · January 11, 2009 at 4:06 am


Thanks for sharing your own experiences as a military mom. Thanks also for the BBM idea – truly awesome!

Thanks be to God for your returned son and thanks be to God for this opportunity to grow in His Love as walk through the coming deployment one day at a time – sometimes one hour at a time.

Post again and let me know how you’re doing, won’t you?


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