After just shy of 12 months, I'm going home. It is hard to believe that I will be home in just a few days. It seems like I've been here forever and for just a day or two. This has been a very rewarding assignment. I've made many friends and done what I hope was some good ministry. I'll know on judgment day, I guess. Usually, within a few months of leaving some place I have trouble remembering the names of the people I knew there. Remembering the events is not too difficult but remembering the names is nearly impossible for me. So here are a few of the people I have met...
Major Anthony Benitez. First the Battalion XO then the Battalion S-3, Major Benitez was one of my favorite people. He is genuine and fun and professional. Major B was always the one I could talk to personally when I needed an ear to bend. He was always in chapel and bible study and a real asset to my time here. He even served in chapel, leading the singing. That was a huge help. His wife, Christy, and his daughter, Lydia, were absolutely wonderful. They kind of served as my surrogate family.
Major Jon and Mary Ring. He is the Battalion S-3 turned XO. Their 5 children Brandi, Jon, Nick, Sam, and Maria were great to be around. They didn't always like their days up here but Mary saw to it that since Major Ring couldn't get down to Seoul, where they lived, that she would bring the family up here. She was and is determined to make her family work. She sewed the curtains for the chapel and was a huge help in redecorating it (since I have zero color savvy). The Rings were always in chapel.
LTC Matthew and Teresa Margotta. He was the BN Commander for all but a month of my time here. They and their boys, Chance and Chase, we also very faithful to chapel. He is one of the gentlest men I think I've ever encountered in the Infantry, but at the same time there was no denying that he was in charge.
CPT Jeff Wood, Battalion S-2 and fellow No Name. We went through the fabled, "Monk-In" together and his room was right next to mine. He got married last month and tried everything he could think of the get the Army to fly me to Nebraska to wed he and his wife. I was honored just to be considered. Also a faithful chapel attender and good friend.
CPT Light Shin. He's only been here a short while but I have really grown to appreciate him. What a solid Christian and friend. I sincerely wish I had more time with him as he was a great influence on me.
CPT John Serafini. He just got out of the army to return to Boston and attend Harvard. Rabid Red Sox fan and wandering seeker. John asked some of the best religious questions. I am not certain he has yet made a commitment to Christ, but he certainly is headed in the right direction. I could always depend on John to be in chapel and then ask question later. What a delight.
I could go on all day...PFC Benjamin Dye, CPT Brett Turbyfill, CPT Tony Braxton, CPT Gary Kuczynski, CPT Ryan Roberts (a good friend), Air Force Maj Gen Tom Kane, SGT James McMillian (my second assistant), CH (COL) Sam Boone, CH (LTC-P) Mike Tarvin, CH (CPT) Jeff Jay, and on and on.
This has been a terrific year filled with terrific people. But now, I'm off...