Monday, September 17, 2012

The Countdown Begins...

And by countdown I mean the countdown till Josh gets home.  On the eve of Josh's deployment, I'm sitting here with a glass of wine, listening to The Civil Wars (my new favorite band, check them out) and blogging.  Yes, dorky I know but at least I'm not on the couch with Ben & Jerry's ice cream feeling sorry for myself and crying.  Surprisingly I'm actually feeling ok.  I can't really explain it and I don't think you can ever prepare yourself for how you will act in these situations.  It probably helps that this is Josh and I's 2nd deployment but I don't think it ever really gets any easier.

For the past few months there has been so much hype and build up to this deployment.  Josh has been on the ship 3 different times for training each lasting 2-3 weeks.  He's been gone and away so many times that I kind of got to the point where I was thinking "Leave already so I can start my countdown and you can come back sooner".  I think all the anticipation leading up to the deployment is almost worse than the actual leaving.  It was like pulling off a band-aid slowly and I just wanted it to be ripped off already!

This pictures makes me so so happy!  Josh and his proud parents!

Josh will be gone for about 8 months.  He'll be with the 15th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) aboard the USS Green Bay.  There are a total of 3 ships going, the Green Bay, Peleliu and Rushmore.  A total of about 4,000 marines and sailors will be aboard these 3 ships.  Josh isn't exactly sure where they will be going, but they will probably end up in the Middle East.   Josh is attached to 3rd Battalion 5th Marines which is an infantry battalion and he serves as a Amphibious Assault platoon commander.  I know this probably sounds like gibberish and to be honest, half the time I don't even know what Josh is talking about when he talks about work.  It seriously is like talking in code or something.  But anyway to simplify it, he is in charge of 15 AAVs (Amphibious Assault Vehicles) and 53 Marines and they are all aboard the USS Green Bay.

Mario in Josh's seat

Josh and his Marines left from Camp Pendleton on their AAVs.  They splashed into the ocean and met up with the USS Green Bay which was waiting for them just off the coast so they could load up onto the ship.  It was a pretty dramatic/exciting send off compared to his last deployment when they just loaded buses and drove away.  We literally got to watch them drive off the ramp and splash into the ocean one vehicle at a time (I have a video in case you are enticed).  Josh's parents came to see him off with me which was so nice.  I honestly think I would have been a mess if I had to be there alone saying goodbye and watching him sail away.  Having them there by my side gave me a lot of strength.  And it was so cute to see Josh's mom and dad so proud of their son.  I wonder if it's the same proud feeling you get when you send your child off to kindergarten for the first day or when they graduate from high school/college.  I imagine there are probably a lot of tears, smiles, pictures, wishes of good luck just as there were today.   

Lt. Coelho commanding his Marines :) so proud!

Being a military wife is a tough job.  I haven't been one for a long time, but so far its been hard.  Military life is like a crazy emotional rollercoaster and you have to be one tough lady.  But I can tell you that I wouldn't want it any other way.  As much as it sucks that Josh is gone and he'll miss our 1st anniversary, Christmas, his birthday, Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentine's Day just to name a few holidays, having the one you love away makes you appreciate so many things.  For example, I'll miss so many simple things like running errands or holding hands or waking up next to each other every morning.  So if you have the chance, after you read this, just give your loved one a hug or hold their hand, but just make it last a little longer and really appreciate that moment and cherish it.  Don't ever forget how precious these simple moments are. 

Here's a couple videos of Josh splashing off in his AAV:

I am so proud of Josh and all that he has accomplished and excited for all the journeys that lie ahead of him on this deployment. I am a worry wart, but I know that with Josh in charge they are in good hands.  He is such a good leader and they have all trained so hard that I know they are prepared for anything.  Please keep them and the 4000 other Marines and Sailors with them in your thoughts and prayers.  If you'd like to send something to Josh or want his email address (he has a different one for when he's on the ship) just let me know.  Josh would love any notes/cards/words of encouragement and he has the world's biggest sweet tooth just FYI.  Also, I want to thank everyone who wrote cards and notes for Josh that were compiled into a big book that Josh took with him.  When I gave it to him he was so surprised and so excited!  It really means a lot to him! He sent me an email tonight saying that he was safe on the boat and that he was going to read a few of the cards before he went to bed. :)

Stay safe Josh!  And come home soon! We all love you and miss you already!

Bye Josh!! We'll miss you!! Come home safe!

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