We have been working very hard to turn in any equipment that we won't need in the time we have left here. It's exciting to be preparing to go home. Going home presents a new set of challenges for chaplains. I have to make sure that the soldiers understand how to cope with the stresses of plugging back into "normal" life while trying to leave the war behind.
Along those lines, I have read some disturbing articles recently. One was on the recent suicide increases in the military. Guard and Reserve troops now make up more than 50% of suicides in the Army. The other story was on the decreasing civilian income level of Guard and Reserve soldiers. This suggests that Guard and Reserve soldiers are having greater difficulty getting, and keeping, good jobs. Employers may be less likely to employ someone who may be gone for a year at a time.
It's important that the country say thanks to those who serve, but let's make sure that our thanks is not just lip-service.