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My friend Alice has a son.  He's a grown-up now, a Marine, married with children.  I used to take him to Star Trek conventions when he was a teenager.  

Mikey has an unusual job in the Marines, training other Marines to do his unusual job (yes, I'm being vague, because I didn't ask Alice's permission to write this), and when the Marines sent him to Afghanistan for the first time, it was way behind the lines, training people to do what he does.

He's on his second tour now, and this time, he's in combat.

His unit takes heavy casualties.  Every time someone gets killed, they shut down their email and cell phones for three days, so that the parents can find out first.  And Alice lives in hell for 36 hours until Mikey pops up again, usually with a joke.  

Mikey was supposed to be there from January until October, but for reasons I don't know, Mikey is coming home in July.  Hard orders.

Things tend to go sour just before the good times start.  Please, everybody, send your good wishes and thoughts to Mikey and Alice, and all the other soldiers counting days, and the parents whose hell will end on a certain date, and those whose hell will never end.  Please think hard.  I want them all home, but if that can't happen in the next month, I'll take Mikey.

Originally posted to Casa escapee on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 09:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers.

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