I am going back to Iraq in November for 13 months. I will be in Baghdad for that time, on the "turn out the lights and lock up when you leave" tour. Essentially, we will be the last ones in Iraq.
Although it pains me to leave Paradise, my family, and my beloved country, (especially for over a year) I see this trip as another step in my recovery... getting back on the horse, as it were. Living in the (still active) war zone that took so much from me last time, but also gave me so much in return.
Being wounded has definitely changed my perspective on a lot of things, and shown me in specific relief what is really important in life. It has opened up an entirely different world than the one I was saw before, and this new world is focused on others, instead of centered on myself. Before being wounded, I never really thought about the problems faced by those who were wounded, I never really did much charity work beyond an occasional relay for life or Combined Federal Campaign donation. I never knew the joy, the satisfaction, or the warmth of truly helping someone else.
So, because of the world I now see, I am thankful for being wounded. The blast physically made me less of a man, but also made me a better human being.
I have also updated my Amazon wish list with items not supplied by the military that I either had on my last deployment or wished I'd had. Unfortunately, the items I had either became part of the shrapnel still in my arms, face, and legs, were vaporized, or were stole my some Fobbit/REMF who took them from my room when I was medevaced. I know some of these items are expensive, (hence, the "wish.") If you would like to help, but cannot purchase them outright, just hit the ol' (empty) tip jar over on the left (under the "Show Chuck some love.")