Gone…but never forgotten


I have come to hate Memorial Day weekend.  This has been a rough one.  I lost a patient last week…I lost my Abbie yesterday.  Since Memorial Day is the day that we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country I can’t help but think of someone else I lost.  She died, in a helicopter crash, in Iraq.

She was the only female Command Sergeant Major that I have ever known.  Sometimes she would call me at the office on an issue and say – “Hi Joan, it’s Marilyn.” 

“Marilyn?”  I would question.

“You know…Command Sergeant Major G*****”  She would usually say it like I was some sort of idiot for not realizing who she was – but in my line of work with my rank you just didn’t call your CSM by her first name.

She was an incredible NCO.  Probably one of the best that I have ever met.  She took great care of her soldiers.  I had to attend a week long training and I was the only female there.  It was software training and little did I realize – most of my male counterparts only typed 20 words an hour.  It was a horrible, long week away from family.  The instructors would let me finish my work and then go sit in the break room and drink coffee and watch the news or read the paper – since I was done 30 to 45 minutes before the rest of the trainees.  CSM always managed to come down to the breakroom and chat with me for awhile.  She wanted to make sure that I was comfortable alone in the barracks.  Wanted to know if I wanted a TV/DVD combo to watch a movie.  Wanted to make sure I was okay and that my senior NCO’s were taking care of me – since we only had one vehicle.  Was I getting to chow – to the PX – to anything I needed.

She would come in the break room and I would stand up at my best Parade Rest.  Arms tight – shoulders back.  “Good morning, Command Sergeant Major!”

Sit down, sit down…how’s the coffee?  Class going okay?

I never really told her how proud I was of her.  I know that seems silly – but it is true.  I didn’t show her respect because of the rank on her shoulder.  She EARNED my respect in everything she did.  I was proud that she had made it so far – proud that she was a good NCO – proud of the way she cared for troops.  I wanted to be like her in so many ways.  I was proud to stand at Parade Rest when she entered the room.

Rest well, my friend.  I was proud to have known you.  You will never be forgotten.

Joan

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