Setting off to see it again.

This time to serve a different role than the one  before, but will I go through the same routine of rituals in preparation before I get back on the bus? Without a doubt. As expected, little sleep the night before the trip kicks off. Countless cross-checks on what I’ve packed, blasting the volume on my best ipod mix to get fired up, fitting a laminated photo of my family into the inner flap of my protective vest, and enjoying a good bath…many of you know the drill. I even took the time to press my lips on the American soil I would be longing for in the weeks to come-hey, what can I say? I’m patriotic![# More #]

Nervous? Absolutely. What will it be like “over there” this time around? Haven’t gotten there yet-so ask me after the fact. It’s also why I’m even collecting myself best I know how to handle the rawness of returning back to a place I previously served in combat. I know it’s worth it. How? Because I feel it.  I wish I had the same certainty in more areas of my life as I do about my return to Iraq. Through all the blood, sweat and tears of my mission there before there was no doubt I was making a difference by keeping our soldiers alive.  I knew what I did while deployed was important and would be worth it in the long run. Never once did I measure the speed of improvements made in country, and worry that all of us would be ridiculed and nagged for not reaching victory in Iraq swiftly enough for the TV audience. I knew that victory was achievable as long as we didn’t quit.  2 years have passed since I left the desert, and those that I have been honored to be in uniform with continue to fight for victory in Iraq. As I lace up my boots this time, I too will experience first-hand the “knowing” of achievements made in country. Words alone could never describe how grateful I feel for the opportunity to see for myself the fruits of my own labor and sacrifice. The second phase of the mission for me will reach full circle during my own “follow-up.”  I am proud to be a credible source and a voice for those who deserve the truth about the successes all our troops have earned throughout Iraq.

This American Iraq War Veteran is ready and willing again, to see it and feel it herself-the real truth.

Always marching on,

Kate Norley