ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

You're Being Deployed - The Journey Begins

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As I sit here in a hotel waiting to take a jet plane to Afghanistan in eleven days, I can't help but think about those things that brought me here. The events that occurred to make this a reality. Thinking about it takes me back to the day I was voluntold. For the record: volunteeer + told = voluntold.

*   *   *

“You’re being deployed,” my boss said. Although he grinned, his eyes watched me closely. This was part of the game. How would someone react when they were told they were going off to war? How would I react.

“Sure I am.” I laughed and waited for a reciprocating laugh from my boss, or the deputy, but neither gave in. “Oh, you’re serious.” I looked from one man to the other and felt it for real. Fight or flight. My heart fluttered. My face might have even paled. A tsunami of concern broke in my stomach. This was
Eleven Years Ago in a
Land Far Far Away
it. This was that moment. How would I react? How was I reacting? Whatever was happening to my body, my mind was flash-banging through a thousand images of war and fighting, both Hollywood and real. The dead stared back at me with as fierce a stare as those levied by John Wayne and my grandfather, waiting for my answer. It seemed as if minutes had passed since I’d realized I was actually being deployed. In this all volunteer military I was being voluntold to go to war. I could get out of it. I could make up some excuse. Hell, I could tell the truth. The Veteran’s Administration had already established that I was enough a disabled veteran that I was deserving money—as sort of monetary apology for fucking up my body. My mouth moved and the words came out, “Where are you sending me.”
               
“Afghanistan,” my boss said.
               
I realized only a moment had passed. If my face had revealed any of my internal ruminations, I couldn’t tell by looking at him.
               
“Do you know where in Afghanistan?” I asked.
               
“Don’t know.” He snatched a yellow sticky from his desk. “Call this number and they’ll fill you in.”
              
As I took the paper, the phone rang. He answered it and I stood there awkwardly for a moment. I didn’t know if I was supposed to say something or not. Finally, tired of staring at the back of his head, I turned and left the office. I had a phone call to make. Check that. I had two phone calls to make. I had to call deployments branch and I also had to call my wife. After a moments consideration, I took the coward's way out and called deployments branch.

*   *   *


It's funny. As I look back on that moment, I wasn't scared. This was something I'd been wanting to do for so long. Twice before I was set to go and it was scuttled. I was beginning to feel like it was never meant to be. Then came the notification. Was I scared? Not the way you think. I wasn't scared for my life. I was scared for all the things I was going to miss. I was scared that something might happen in the life I'd constructed and I wouldn't be there to see it, to fix it, to be a part of it. This is the hardest thing to get over. It's a hard lesson to learn that life goes on without you. Once you get it, then everything falls into place.

I'm ready to go.

Let's get this party started.



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