When War Gets Personal

Private First Class Tyler Smith serving in Afghanistan with the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany.

By Tracie Ciambotti

I saw a post on Facebook from Tyler Smith, one of the soldiers supported by our Military Families Ministry group in Pennsylvania.  He posted a link, At Frontline Hospital, Afghan War’s Toll Is Deeply Felt, and a comment, “get well soon brothers, the first round is on the house.”  As I read this story about the increased injuries and casualties with the start of the Afghan’s fighting season, I could feel the emotions rising inside me and tears in my eyes.  By the end of the article I understood Tyler’s comment on his post; the wounded warriors in the story were members of his unit, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany; serving their final weeks of a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. 

My tears were no longer confined to my eyes; they were rolling down my face.  I know Tyler personally; I have exchanged emails with him over the past year during his deployment.  I wrote a “hero spotlight” about him and his mother in our March newsletter.

Tracie Ciambotti's son, Joshua Nearhoof, Army Sergeant out of Fort Carson.

As the mother of a soldier, I rarely can read, hear, or watch anything about war that doesn’t bring tears.  When my son first deployed, I remember praying it wasn’t him each time I saw a news report of a casualty or war injury, but the reality that it is always someone’s child quickly became entrenched.

This particular story is very personal to me; I care for the young man who posted it and my heart breaks for him and those injured, and my son will be deploying to Afghanistan within the next 30-45 days.  As his deployment draws near I know it is time to gather my battle gear and prepare for my own war—the one that starts the day he leaves.

War was never personal to me prior to my son enlisting in the Army; I was always patriotic and grateful for the service and sacrifice of the men and women in our Armed Forces.  Honestly, I had no understanding of the burden placed on military families—until I became part of one.

Tracie’s previous blog post:

An Army Mom Connects Military Families, Churches

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