Thursday, October 14, 2010


Whenever I post to this blog or write an email, inevitably people tell me that they are praying for me and they thank me for my sacrifice.  These thoughts are truly appreciated, but in many ways, I don't think I'm making a sacrifice at all.  Being a 58 year old man, whose children are grown, on my seventh mobilization, the degree of sacrifice isn't too great.  I think of the female doctor that I know who has two small children at home, and is facing 6-12 months of separation.  I am reminded of the sergeant who is facing a divorce at home.  Other soldiers worry how they can pay the bills on their Army salary.  These folks are sacrificing much more than I am.  I am even more fortunate than most, in that my employer is supplementing my pay!

As for me, I am having the time of my life!  Sure, the job can be stressful, but I can't think of anything else that I could be doing that would bring more satisfaction to my life.  I am making a difference.  People are surviving because of what we are doing here.  There is a degree of danger, but, in a weird sort of way, that adds to the excitement.  It sure beats the daily grind of a M-F, 9-5 job!

But that is not why I'm writing this blog entry.  I want the reader to be aware of the sacrifice of those we left behind in the States.  Think of the parents who have had to learn to care for the kids alone.  There are housewives learning to pay bills, cut the lawn, fix computers and combat loneliness.  In my case, my employer is having to make do with one less employee, and is required to give me my job back when I return.  This means paying overtime, and occasionally hiring temporary help.

Those of us in the 'Stan volunteered to be soldiers, and knew the risks we were taking.  The ones we left behind are truly sacrificing, for they are doing it involuntarily.  The next time you see my wife, or the family member of another deployed soldier, don't start off the conversation talking about the sacrifice of the service member.  Ask the one left behind how he/she is doing, and offer to help.  Take over a meal, serve a cup of coffee, cut the lawn, or repair the leaky faucet.  Knowing that others are calling on my wife takes a great burden from me, and allows me to be a more effective soldier.

 The views of this blog are those of the author only, and not necessarily of the US Army or the US Government.  None of the information given is classified in nature.


  1. Bill,

    So I won't say I am praying for you or thank you for your service (but I am doing both of these). I will be following you and look forward to reading all about your experiences. I also sent your link to my students at the Duke Nurse Anesthesia Program (there are 47 of them). I hope that they will take the time to read about what dedication and sacrifice really means. They are a wonderful group and I am proud to call them "my students." I did remind them that you will tell an "non-pc" joke from time to time:) God bless you.

  2. Bill,

    Maybe when you you return you could visit our school and share some stories! I really enjoyed your post, it says a lot about someone when they take time and attention away from their own trials to remind others to think about those who often get over-looked or ignored by popular media. It seems like a quality that is even more admirable to have in our armed forces. In the mean time stay safe, do great work, and i'll look forward to future postings.

    Jamie Emerich, one of Sharon's Duke SRNAs

  3. you know this last one brought tears to my eyes - you are so right in so many ways. I have a nephew over there right now (just turned 21) and I see what his mom and dad are going through.

    But now instead of just praying for you I'll pray for your family as well. Thank you Bill.

  4. I am so happy that I came across your blog. My husband is also serving in this unit. He is the general surgeon. I did get to see him in the picture you posted. The kids and I miss him so much. Our prayers are with all of you!!

  5. As I've said before, Bill, you make me proud to be a CRNA. I feel very honored to know you.

  6. COL. Giles,
    You are an inspiration not only to students like myself that strive to provide competent, first-class anesthesia care; but also to all of the men and women stateside who’s lives and rights you have committed to protect. We thank you for your service and pray for the safe return of you and your fellow soldiers. I look forward to reading more. God Bless and Go USA!—Matt Stamper SRNA, Duke University