Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mom, did you call the President?

Well, ah, no, not call, certainly not call, but, um, wait a minute, I think I might have e-mailed the White House; yes, that's it, I e-mailed the White House several months ago. Why?

Tuesday, July 31, Austin was "summoned" to his Commanding Officer's location and told that the White House had authorized him to return to the US because his mother had contacted the White House stating that she did NOT want both of her sons in a war zone at the same time. Can you believe that? One e-mail sent months ago when Austin was deployed to Iraq six weeks after having knee surgery and wasn't sure he'd even be able to walk, much less run, achieved the goal of allowing Austin to come home from Iraq!

Austin is not coming home from Iraq. His initial reaction was NO, he was staying with his fellow soldiers and serving his country. His fellow soldiers told him he'd be crazy not to jump on this chance to go home. He spoke with his CO, his sister, his girlfriend, me, and his firm decision was NO, he did not want to go home.

His CO called me from Iraq about 1 in the afternoon (our time) to discuss the information he had been provided. He said that Austin is an excellent soldier and a vital part of their team and that if he chose to leave, it would be their loss. The CO was VERY kind and understanding, assuring me that Austin was not in trouble of any kind -- I guess it felt like being called to the Principal's office in elementary school; only a lot worse.

I had truly forgotten about sending that e-mail because a few weeks later Austin had adjusted to life in a war and no longer wanted to come home. And to think that ONE E-MAIL to the White House would actually be acted on, much less the request granted? I was absolutely stunned. I was also extremely proud of Austin for making the brave decision to stay and fight the battle with his fellow soldiers. For a few minutes when I thought he MIGHT be coming home I felt a tremendous sense of relief, but this is his decision to make and I think he made the right one.

After I talked with Austin's CO, he put Austin on the phone. The connection was really bad so I couldn't hear much of what he said but about an hour later we had a lengthy IM discussion and got things cleared up. On his MySpace page, Austin put "My mother is way more awesome than yours" and "You better not mess with me, man, or my mom will send you an E-MAIL!" I'm so proud!

Apparently none of the officers in Austin's unit knew that his brother was also in Iraq. Austin told me that if siblings are serving at the same time the Army sends them both to a green zone to visit for a few days now and then. So next week Austin and Kris will get to see each other for the first time in over a year and a half. Kris is going back to Battalion Staff in a week or so, but hopefully Austin will get to see him "in action" as the CO of the 111th Sapper Company.

Kris is seven years older than Austin and he left for West Point when Austin was only 11. Four years at West Point and then seven in the Army didn't a foster close relationship between. After Austin joined the Army the only time Kris and Katie saw him was at Basic Training graduation. Then they were all here, there and everywhere, just not at the same time.

So I'm hoping these two sibling soldiers can get to know each other better in the Sandbox and develop a bond that will last way beyond the end of this war.


Stryker Mommas of the 4/2 said...

Austin's CO is an amzing Christian man as is his wife. I can imagine your conversation with him in my head. His CO would never punich Austin,but agree with you as he has two young children of his own and a brother who also served in the Army at the same time as him. In all likely hood he said a prayer with Austina nd told him he would support whatever descion he made. I have said several times to the Co's wife who I love like a sister how lucky and blessed I feel for our soldier's serving under her husband's commnad. Way to go on the e-mail! Isn't it wonderful knowing you raised such a strong independent young man, who is great at the job he choose?

Sarge Charlie said...

You rock lady. Even in Vietnam I was not supposed to be there at the same time my brother was, we did share some time in Saigon, he was AF. I am happy to see they responded to your email, and I respect your son even more because of his actions.

Kila said...

How wonderful that they will get to visit each other.

I'm proud of you, Austin.

Debra said...

Oh my gosh you are my hero! I too emailed the president when all the budgeting arguing was going on and every senator and congressman from OK. My kids thought I had lost my mind. Austing is amazing. My heart wanted him to come home, but I am proud of the courage he showed to stay when given the choice. Hope the brothers have a great visit!

Not a Granny said...

Good job mom! You do Rock!!! I'm glad the boys will get to spend some time together also!!

Army Mom Times Three said...


It might surprise you that I've always been somewhat of an "activist". NO, you say, that cannot be true! Yep, and it's usually gotten me in trouble.

Over at the Stryker Forum they censor everything I say unless it's "Nice weather we are having today. How are you? I'm fine."

Milquetoast! I say! "The term "milquetoast" is still used today to refer to a person of weak character or principles."


Debbi (no 'e' on the end) said...

WOW....good thing I this isn't a year ago or I would be writing to the President right at this moment. Let's say a year ago I wasn't real happy that my one & only was going into the Army but as they say...."What a difference a year makes" (I's supposed to be day but that doesnt' work in this situation now does it). Austin sounds like an amazing young man....just like his Mom! So glad your sons will get to spend time together...I'm sure that will be great for all. Take care.