Messages Home: Feb. 21, 2009

February 21, 2009 by

From Loretta Jasper, CSJ, who is working for a month at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany. To learn more about her mission, click HERE.

The enormous flakes of wet snow has been falling each night for the past five days. Creates the urge to create a major angel in the snow in the parking lot as I leave the hotel for Rose Barracks base; or create a major snow structure. This past 24 hours the snow was steady. Military bases, in Germany/Bavaria for sure, have a color coded system for driving: green to yellow to amber to red to black(only military vehicles are permitted on the road). Angelica, the owner of the Hotel Villa, in her broken English, states that “the driving codes are only used on the base and not in ‘the economy’ (meaning, the non-military neighborhoods)…the crazy driving of the Americans”. We agreed about the crazy driving of the Americans.

The roads are clear and my four colleagues and I are driving to Regensburg today…about a 3 hour drive. For those who trek through Europe while here, this is a must: it contains one of the living castles, with a family still in residance, and tours to boot. There are other must sees as well: the Danube,…. Of course I am wearing my boots, and triple layers of clothing so the cold does not detract my treks.

For those of you unfamiliar (as I was) many countries have their own Mardi Gras. Germany celebrates Fasching. It was slowly launched a couple of months ago, but this past week there are parades, parties, costumes…. Tomorrow, there is a parade which begins in Vilseck at 2 p.. Bundle on the layers, Loretta! It will be a small parade since Vilseck is a small town. The party following, however, will not be small. Note: The expression in Germany is: there is no drinking water–only beer!

PS: The water from the tap in Vilseck is absolutely delicious! And cold! Yum!

In Prague, for instance, last weekend, there was a small band of four gentlemen playing New Orleans jazz in the open plaza in the midst of the intense cold. Of course, they had to stop and warm themselves with spirits from time-to-time.
The daily military newspaper, STARS AND STRIPES has been highlighting the European celebrations which I have pulled and will have available for your look-see upon my return. I also read and saw the photo of the look alike Abe Lincoln contest in Lincoln, KS. in one of the most recent issues.

Most noteworthy about S & S these days is reading the five part series re.: Homecoming (post deployment/re-integration). You might be able to access this on the web: stripes.com for the articles and photos. Series began: Thurs., 2/19, and ends Mon., 2/23. I am also pulling and hand carrying those articles with me. Most heart rending and informative. It is a tough task to break through the wall of survival and trauma in order to create the process of thriving for the soldier and the family members. Particularily when folks are deployed 4-5-6 times with less than a year’s lapse in between.

Folks who are in the mix of returning/reintegrating/more than likely re-deploying are not ofttimes giving themselves the space to catch up with themselves emotionally. The physical damage is the obvious. The emotional trauma which either blunts or exacerbates the interactions with simple daily events is still translated by the soldier/family member with explicatives toward one another which are not associated with trauma.

JUST now, as I am completing from my 30-day assignment, I have two couples who are calling for assist. Soldiers have also called, set an appointment but did not follow through with the appointment. The honeymoon of four months is completing! I am creating a way to communicate with my successor to be in contact with various contingencies on post to encourage contact.

I trekked through a lane of modules which contains community health, occupational and physical therapy yesterday. I was getting acquainted with the community health nurse. To get to her office I walked through a lane of several open modules filled with multiple (20 at that time) soldiers tending to physical therapy. Military modules are connected with one another, sturdy with each being about 10′ x 20′ x 10′ in size.

There are at least two staff on post who tend to issues related to domestic violence and child abuse. And, of course, I have shared the escalated concern and action being taken re.: suicides.

Isabel, the communty health RN, is the spouse of a 24 yr. soldier. Spouse has been deployed to Iraq four times in the recent years for the 15-month stints. Prior to that spouse would be gone 1-2 months at a time. She shared wonderful stories of stellar service she received for her special needs child withing 2 weeks arriving at Ft. Leavenworth (KS), after experienced multiple frustrations of seeking service on the prior placement. YAY, KS.!!!!!!! She shared about connections she has made through her placements with women whose babies she delivered; ways women have helped her adapt to a given post; and how she continues to pass it on.

Mark, my on-post contact, is a retired veteran of 20+ years. He states that the life this current generation of soldiers is experiencing far exceeds anything he/family endured. Until Iraq, Mark was only gone from family a month at a time, although they would relocate, and he/spouse had the challenges of tending to childrens’ responses and adjustments to the move. Since Iraq, he was deployed 4 times. As a retiree and civil service employee he has oversight of tending to the needs of soldiers: mobilization/deployment/reintegration. He moved to Germany within the past six months from Ft. Sill, OK. Spouse moved her the same week I arrived.

I am well aware that there are many of you who are supporting my presence here as you read and pray. Thanks for that.

Loretta Jasper

Comments

2 Responses to “Messages Home: Feb. 21, 2009”

  1. Ken McKelllar on April 2nd, 2009 1:00 pm

    I am thinking you may be part of the MFLC program? If so, I am so glad to read your accounting of Vilseck! I am preparing to go there in May of this year for 60 days as the CYB. Tell me more!!!

    Ken McKellar

  2. Diane Brin on February 28th, 2009 1:41 pm

    Hi Loretta,
    The account of your experience is moving. Seems like you are right where the action is.
    I loved Bavaria when I was there in 1970. It was a lovely gift from Belvidere friends and my sis was with me as a prudent companion!! We saw two of her sons in the service and went to the Oberamagau presentation with one of them who was stationed there. The memories are fond ones.
    Be well. It will be good to see you in June. Thanks for all the work you are doing on the Jubilee committee.
    Diane

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