Holidays always have a uniqueness to them while deployed. Since ’06 I’ve been gone for every Thanksgiving, two Christmases and three New Years (including duty days). Just to name the ‘big ones’. This fourth however, is my first while not in the States. Does it bother me? Not really, I’ve always been with good people during the holidays. Everyone in the States seems to bend over backwards to make sure we all know that we’re being thought of, prayed for, significant others looked out for–basically anything we could hope for while gone. Care packages are everywhere, just about everyone gets them, I really can’t think of anyone who doesn’t.
The following I wrote to the Editor of my hometown’s local paper, if I am remembering correctly I sent it to them back in October and it was published in November. Being deployed during a holiday is worth it because of what we have to return to. In this letter, I tried to make that point.
I am a Sailor in the United States Navy, on my second deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism. During my first deployment, this time last year, my Father posted my picture and my address in the Transylvania Times. I received over two-hundred letters and care packages from you. I can not thank you enough for taking the time out of your day to stop and think about me and those of us deployed around the World. Sentiments such as many of you expressed mean more to me and the others like myself than words can express. However, If I can ask one thing for you to do for me in lieu of sending cookies or care packages, to honor those of us who are in harms way, it would be this: Take the best care of each other and our home as you can.
I am over here, in Afghanistan, to make sure that home and the world as a whole is safer. I am doing all that I can out here. But, I am out here; not at home. There is little I can do to take care of you and the mountains that I love. We are out here fighting this war because our home and our way of life is worth fighting for. I can think of no better ‘thank you’ that anyone could give a Service Member than having him return to a home that is better than he left it. Seeing the world as I have, from the shores of Somalia to, now the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan, you learn one thing: That a location is only as good as its people allow it to be. Transylvania County is a special place, unlike anywhere I’ve been out of twenty-two Countries. Please do everything you can to take care of and cherish it.
Very Respectfully, Henry Lucien Gauthier III
Petty Officer Second Class (Surface Warfare) United States Navy
Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan
During this fourth, don’t just think of us over here as being who made our Nation as good as it is. Just the same, all of you make home worth fighting for.
Happy fourth! And if you would, drink an extra beer for me!