Kev-o my older brother (or older bother as he's known in the inner circles) is a good guy. He works hard, loves his wife, is a good dad to her daughters, and tries to do the right things in life.
He joined the Marine's out of high school, and seemed to enjoy the brotherhood and the life. It wasn't always easy, but he was in for eight years. Those eight years included a tour in Iraq in 1990. Desert Storm V1.0. After he got home he got out and home life took over.
Eight years is a long time, and there's retirement monies there that are not lost to you if you join the Reserves or the National Guard, which is what he did. As a National Guardsman he spends a few hours a month, earns some extra cash and continues working towards a retirement check from the military. It's good deal.
9/11 happens and we (the family) are thankful that he's not in the Reserves as those folks are heading back to the Middle East. Kevin's unit got called up for a year to guard some super secret place in driving distance from his family in the Salt Lake City area (no they aren't Mormon - but everybody asks.) This ends up being a pretty good deal for them, he serves, he's home for most weekends, his job works out. Once it was over he went back to normal life.
After Katrina Kevin's unit went to Louisiana to help. He said it was sad and rewarding all at the same time. He felt a special connection to the people because "our people" are from there.
Life goes on, he's back to work, and yet this War in Iraq wages on. I care about the news reports and I feel for the families, but day after day is too much. Soon I'm focusing on Katie Holmes and her odd marriage, and funny things I see everyday. It's just easier to ignore it.
The news reports that the last of the stateside Reserve units are being called up. It barely blips in my head until I get the panicky phone call from Mom. Kevin's going back to Iraq. She doesn't say it, but our fears are in sync... what if we used up all of our luck the first time around?
People I've told ask what he does and when I say he's a driver, their response is to look away and say "oh." I try not to let the fact that the only fatalities the news talks about are related to IED's or roadside bombs scare the crap out of me. Of course they aren't going to comment on gun battles. Heck, it wasn't four years after he got home the first time that he shared that he wasn't just driving the mail around but that he was actually shooting at people. The news is skewed - so you can't let it scare you.
Mom listens to the latest out of Washington and the pressure that the President is getting to come up with an exit strategy and is filled with hope that he won't have to go. Sorry mom, these aren't people who care; they want to be re-elected. Totally different thing. Kevin himself seems resigned to the situation, "been there done that, what's there to be nervous about?" That's a nice state of mind.
What they want with a 42 year old asthmatic smoker is beyond me, but they're taking him. So, he's going. Yesterday he found out he's leaving June 12th. Mom and Dad will make the trip to SLC to visit and I will try to go. (the new boss, just had two weeks of vacation makes that a little more complicated than normal.) Mom gets all Momish when Kev's in peril which makes me think that she'll be better off without me there. However, I am a nice buffer for the unfortunate tense relations between Mom and Kev's wife. (There isn't enough time to go into that.) So, we'll see if I'm going.
That's the news...