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.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Day 254 - Who Ya Gonna Call?

Mississippi families separated from their soldiers have been especially frustrated by the difficulties of receiving phone calls since Kat-Rita packed a double punch to the area.

Blair, my brother who lives in Jackson, introduced me to Stacy, who describes the most recent call from her son like this:
“1 HOUR 39 MINUTES AND 22 SECONDS after my cell phone rang earlier tonight, I sat back with this big smile on my face. We had a lot of catching up to do. He has been trying to call since he made it back to the sand from R&R… After many attempts at trying to get through to us, along with several voice messages that he was at least able to leave on our cell phones, and one call that was disconnected tonight, we can finally breath a sigh of relief…It has been a very long 33 days.”
Another mother-blogger, Soldier’s Mom, probably said it best for all of us:
“I think back to the days before (Noah) was injured and was still in Iraq. Each hour that we didn’t hear -- whether the instant messenger was silent or the phone didn’t ring – one drip from a faucet into a million gallon bucket – not fast enough, not soon enough, not often enough. It’s a bucket that can never be filled.” (Read the rest…with tissue handy!)
One of these days, we won’t be counting nine hours ahead to figure out what time it is in Iraq every time the phone rings.

First Sergeant Kevin Kelly reports from Wayne’s base:
We had a meeting today at 3:00 to discuss the priority of sending people home. Each company took their list of people and decided in order when they should fly out. We don't have any dates or anything, but people knew if they would be some of the first, middle or last to go…The whole thing is that this list is subject to change tomorrow so no one is really getting their hopes up. It was nice to be discussing going home though.
Home. That’s r e a l l y good to hear.