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Old 09-10-2008, 08:34 PM   #1
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Question What to do for people returning from Iraq

It seems like we have a lot of people in the military here (Cavedvr, chime in! ), or at least members with lots of friends/family that have been over seas.

As I have said before, I have quite a few friends over seas serving, and a good chunk of which have come home after a tour or two (sometimes more) and are pretty much done. When they came home, we just waited until they told us what they wanted to do, and that was that. They were friends, but not people that I talked to on a daily basis. Maybe weekly or bi weekly. So as long as I got to thank them, and welcome them back, I figured I would let their family and friends do something special for them.

Now, one of my best buds is coming back (hopefully) on the 18th. This is one of those "brother from another mother" type of friends. Close with his parents, lots of memories together, inseparable when he is not serving his country. I don't want him to come home and think we all forgot the sacrifice he has made for us, but I don't want to push anything on him either. Obviously I do not know what he went through over there, and don't really know what kind of shape he will be in when he returns. I would like to do something for him, maybe have a party or organize a group of close friends to go out to a club/bar etc. but again, I don't want to set something up and he comes home and just wants to relax.

So. You military guys, what did you want from your friends when you came back? People with family/close friends that came home, what did you do for them? What did they want from you all? I am thinking I should just wait until he gets back, and try to pull something off last minute if he wants a party or something, but I feel like I owe it to him to at least do something special. Hes a party animal, and definitely a ladies man, but when he came back from Japan all he wanted to do was relax for a few days, and go to a bar with a couple friends and relax before he went back to NC.

Enough rambling, someone chime in please

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Old 09-10-2008, 08:55 PM   #2
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Seriously........go ahead and do something special for him. If he doesn't want to go out with a handful of friends, just get together and grill/barbeque somewhere. I didn't get the luxuries of having a good time with friends and family when I came back from this latest deployment, and would have loved if someone could have done something like that for me. He will appreciate whatever you decide to do for him. Don't push him to talk about what he's done/seen over there......he'll talk when he's ready. I think I can speak for everyone here who's military when I say that. We've all been hammered for details about what's going on over there and it gets really old, really fast. Besides, depending on what his job was, there are probably alot of details he CAN'T go into with civilians. Just be there as a good friend and make sure he knows that you all care about him and are glad he's home safe. He'll know you appreciate the sacrifices he's given for his country.

Tell him that everyone on the forum, even though he has no idea who we are, appreciates his service to our country and we're glad he's safe!!

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Old 09-10-2008, 09:30 PM   #3
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:40 PM   #4
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I know I'm not a military guy but I can't not respond....

Listen to him. Listen to whatever he needs to tell you. Call him, check on him, and listen. Listen carefully. I can't stress that enough. Do the regular stuff and if he seems distant or drifts away, don't let him. Be there to make sure he's ok, even if he has family one can never have too many people who love them.

Doing something special is great, but after the excitement of him being home fades a bit and he's settling back into life here is when you really need to listen and be there for him.
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:58 PM   #5
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Everytime I've came back from the desert or like location. For the first few days all I wanted was to spend time with my kid and wife. That may not be the case for him if he doesn't have kids or a wife. It does feel great to have friends and family there to welcome you back when you get back and get off the plane. I always loved that part. But after that for me it was family time for a few days then friends.

Everyone is different, some of my guys wanted to do was have a steak and some beer, some wanted to party. I think since ya'll are that close is to take him out for the steak and beer.
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:59 PM   #6
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Really appreciate what cavediverjc said. Am a director for Military Family Readiness Group and he's right that it's important to let them tell you when they're ready to talk. We're seeing lots of problems with PTSD, especially from Guard and Reserve personnel. I would encourage getting him a copy of "Downrange: To Iraq and Back". This does a great job of letting him/her know they're not alone and what to expect upon their return. Wouldn't hurt to read it yourself; it will give you a great understanding to be able to be there for him. Also know that there's a lot of readjustment necessary when they get back. They remember the world how they left it and it's not the same when they return. There are a lot of losses such as sense of mission and purpose, friendships and relationships (including those of foreigners they will never see again), loss of time lost while away from family and friends, etc. There are readjustments from the military mindset to that of a civilian which are nearly diametrically opposed to each other. Many don't like to be in large crowds, drive in constructions zones, drive under bridges, etc. Finally, I encourage you to get on YouTube and watch "Remember Me" by Lizzie Palmer; it's a great insight into the mind of a deployed soldier. Hope this helps. Thanks for caring for your friend!

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Old 09-10-2008, 10:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmenker View Post
Really appreciate what cavediverjc said. Am a director for Military Family Readiness Group and he's right that it's important to let them tell you when they're ready to talk. We're seeing lots of problems with PTSD, especially from Guard and Reserve personnel. I would encourage getting him a copy of "Downrange: To Iraq and Back". This does a great job of letting him/her know they're not alone and what to expect upon their return. Wouldn't hurt to read it yourself; it will give you a great understanding to be able to be there for him. Also know that there's a lot of readjustment necessary when they get back. They remember the world how they left it and it's not the same when they return. There are a lot of losses such as sense of mission and purpose, friendships and relationships (including those of foreigners they will never see again), loss of time lost while away from family and friends, etc. There are readjustments from the military mindset to that of a civilian which are nearly diametrically opposed to each other. Many don't like to be in large crowds, drive in constructions zones, drive under bridges, etc. Finally, I encourage you to get on YouTube and watch "Remember Me" by Lizzie Palmer; it's a great insight into the mind of a deployed soldier. Hope this helps. Thanks for caring for your friend!


Cavedivers advice and hmenker have great advice. And hmenker brings up a important issuse. He mite not seem like the same person to some ppl when he returns. For some soilders it takes some time to readjust to being back home".
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Old 09-11-2008, 05:38 AM   #8
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hmenker, thats probably my biggest concern. Obviously I don't know what happened over there, so I can't say what kind of shape he will be in, but lets just say we can;t play with firecrackers anymore after his last deployment to somewhere else. My biggest fear is him coming back and being even worse.

I think I am going to get some of our closer friends together, and take him out for some good steak or maybe some Maryland Crab like you all said. I will just set it up for a few days after he gets home, to give him some time to see his family. How long should he be home for? The usually week or two?

Cavedvr, hmenker, thanks for the reminder about asking questions. My father told me the same thing (he is a Vietnam vet) but it is definitely good advice, and something I don't want to forget.

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