loren Eric Swanson: Jeff's reflections on being home and in Iraq

Friday, November 11, 2005

Jeff's reflections on being home and in Iraq

My son Jeff has been in Baghdad since early March. In September, he was able to come home for two weeks to be with his wife and be there for the birth of his son. I pass on his letter that Ashlie sent that arrived today. If he want to write him, his address is at the end of his letter.

I had the best time being with my family and friends. My whole life was changed when i witnessed my wife giving birth to my son. It's a humbling experience to wathc helplessly while the two people I love the most have to suffer. This of course was followed by praise and celebration, and then moments later...exhaustion. God definitely answered my prayers. We were able to spend some time toghter while Ashlie was pregnant and ten days with our brand new baby boy. Leaving Ashlie and Gentry David was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I miss them so much, and long to hld both of them again soon.

This month has been a hard month not only because i had to leave my wife and son but alsob because of the increase in enemy activity. It should calm down within the next couple weeks but not withou reminding our company of the tragedy of war. Our friend Sgt. Marshal Westbrook was killed on the first of October. The memorial was powerful, and I think, brought us closer together. We all cried and paid our respect together. [Jeff told me in a phone call shortly after the memorial, that the unit was assembled for the memorial service. After a short message the men were called to attention and the Final Roll Call was taken with each soldier responding "HERE First Sargeant!" Then Sgt. Westbrooks name was called out three times--SGT. MARSHALL A. WESTBROOK...SGT. MARSHALL A. WESTBROOK....SGT. MARSHALL A WESTBROOK..Final call...Dropped from roll call." Then "Taps" was played while the 21-gun salute was executed. Jeff said that he and his buddy Ben cried and then spent some time talking about how they could be better soldiers and Christians to the people around them.] God is teaching me so much right now, even though things are really hard. Despite all the sadness we are still smiling and laughing almost every day.

Lately thoughts of how I can fix up our house have been on my mind. I spend most of my boredom time drawing sketches of what our house might look like when I get back. Ash has gotten pretty excited about it too. I think its' just one of those thoughts that puts us back togetehr again. The weather is cooling down no and the chilly breeze reminds me of Las Cruces. It makes me even more anxious to get home.

My squad and I feel proud to be part of rebuilding a better Iraq. Iraq passed their constitution which is an amazing thing. I was surprised to be so happy about it, but I guess no matter how much I want to be home, we've still become a part of life in Iraq. God is hearing all your prayers, and they are fully appreciated over here. One day closer.


We are so proud of Jeff and Ashlie

SPC Jeff Swanson, 1st PLT
126th MP CO
CP Victory
APO AE 09344


At Saturday, November 12, 2005 10:28:00 AM, Blogger Steve Van Diest said...


Can you send me Jeff's address or email. I would like to send him a note. I'm proud to have such wonderful soldiers leading us.


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