Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Day 182 - Cure for the No-News Blues

It was happening again. Wayne’s name hadn’t appeared on our Instant Messenger list for two days. No email. No phone calls. No July 19 post on Kevin Kelly’s blog.

This morning, I finally called Lauren, hoping Wayne had communicated with her. On her way to school, she answered her cell phone in less than her usually perky voice.

“No, I haven’t heard from him, either,” she sighed.

While we were talking, an unidentified called beeped in.

“It might be him!”


“It is!” she panted, having switched back to me. “He’s OK. Talk to you later!”


A quick check of Kevin Kelly’s blog confirmed the internet and phones on base had been down during a mission:

July 20, 2005 - HELLO EVERYONE. EVERYONE IS SAFE AND SOUND I know there are a lot of people worried because the internet has been shut down for a while, but it's back up after the mission and we are all safe. Will write more toinght, but after 15 hour mission, i'm taking a shower. Spelling errors and all. God Bless, Kevin

In other news, the family discussion boards are buzzing with news of the latest edition of Guard Detail magazine, a military publication full of compelling news and pictures of our soldiers.

Editor Lieutenant Colonel Tim Powell says it this way in his introductory forward:

"You’ve probably all heard the saying, ‘There are no atheists in foxholes.’… So it is with our 155th Brigade Combat Team currently serving in the Middle East. Prayer is a part of their daily lives, not necessarily because of the war, but because their beliefs were formed much earlier in life. These troops are not shy about their beliefs, as so should we all be. They pray before and after missions, before they lay down for what little rest they get, and again when they wake for the next day’s events. They participate in nightly revival services, Sunday services, and conducted Easter services where several were baptized.

The military uniform is a common denominator for all of us, and so it is with prayer...Many have different beliefs, but those who believe that God answers prayers will hopefully continue to petition Him for protection and a safe return home."

Amen, Brother. Amen.