The Painful Privilege: Why Deployed Soldiers Feel Like ‘The Walking Dead’

*Note: This essay was published at War on the Rocks on July 30, 2015. It can also be found online here (or PDF). 

My birthday is today, and it hurts. I’m a deployed Army officer, living a half marathon distance from the Demilitarized Zone in Korea and 6,000 miles from home (which may as well read “1,000,000”). Service is a privilege; deployed service is a painful privilege that grinds at the soldier’s soul like cancer corrodes the body.

It’s the little things that wear you down, like the videophone calls that go wrong. We thought it would be nice to set up a “goodnight” for our 4-year-old daughter, and it was, right up until she asked, “Daddy, will you be home tomorrow?” It stunned me, and tears dripped down my face before I could form words. If I were a traveling salesman, my response might have been an excited “yes.” But I’m not; our family is still inside of the first month of a yearlong separation.

Read the rest at War on the Rocks.

Author: ML Cavanaugh

Unequal parts strategist, assistant professor, wordsmith, runner, wine-o, reader, philosopher of firepower, and hopeless lover of three ladies named Rachel, Grace, and Georgie.

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