Thursday, November 30, 2006

Godspeed Chris Hickey

As I write this, Major Chris Hickey is likely boarding an airplane from Kuwait, returning back to West Point, New York, to his wife Kate and his two boys.

As I noted back in March, Chris and I have a long history together at Johns Hopkins ROTC, Pershing Rifles, the 82nd Airborne, Harvard, and now Iraq. He was there to pick me up when I arrived in the International Zone way back on 21 March, and it kills me that I couldn't be there to see him off on the long journey home. But I was happy to be able to share Thanksgiving with him, happy to be there when they awarded him the Bronze Star, and happy to enjoy the Prime Rib and Baskin Robbins with him every Sunday night.

Chris was the one of the three people I went to for advice on whether or not to deploy when I received orders last October and the Army offered me the chance to resign my commission and stay at home. (Some 80% of involuntarily activated-IRR soldiers past their eight-year committment have taken this option, or just not bothered to report for duty at all).

Chris wrote back to me, "Ben, you are at heart a warrior, and this is your war," confirming what I already felt in my heart.

This was Major Hickey's second (and hopefully final) voluntary tour of duty in Iraq. I wouldn't say that this is "his" war given the dangerous world in which we live. But this war, from both my personal perspective and for everything he did during the liberation and to help train the Iraqi General Staff, is better because of his tireless efforts.

Thank you Kate, for the sacrifices you and the boys made so that Chris could serve our nation here.

Chris, thank you for everything, and hopefully I'll be able to visit you and the family (and enjoy a beer or four) in Stuttgart in the near future.

Godspeed Chris, AIRBORNE ALL THE WAY!!!