From: Sandy Doell
You’ve just gotten the news. Your son or daughter is about to be deployed to a war zone. If you’re like me, after you get over the initial shock, the denial, and the hope that someone would call the whole thing off, you start doing what families, especially moms, do: figuring the best way to support your loved one and making sure he or she has all he needs to make it home safely.
You learn that the Army or the Marine Corps had already provided for their safety with a lot of training and equipment.
But no one is providing you with the training and equipment you need for the job you have to do here at home.
From need came Mom’s Field Guide: What you Need to Know to Make it Through your Loved One’s Military Deployment.
Hi, my name is Sandy Doell and I am a mother of four sons. My son David, an army MP, was deployed to Iraq in 2004.
Since I have worked in publishing as an editor and writer for over 15 years, it was natural for me to begin to research, study, and learn all I could about the military and the country of Iraq.
And put it all in a book.
How wonderful! How utterly wonderful! Spoken with passsion but not melodrama as others may have done. You are such a lady of class and once again have exhibited through your graceful writing. You are my mentor, my friend, my wisdom giver! Awesome honey!
When your child chooses a career, you aren’t usually involved. You can be proud of what he does, happy when he’s successful, concerned when there are problems, but mostly, if he chooses to be a doctor, an accountant, or a Diesel mechanic, you don’t usually fear for his life. Having a son or daughter announce that he or she is joining the military is akin to having your child announce that he’s going to be a tightrope walker. Suddenly, you are paying a lot of attention.
If you’re new to the military life, if you need a primer in military terminology, and especially, if you need a guide through the ins and outs of deployment, you’ve come to the right place.
You’ll learn all about:
- How to maneuver through military paperwork, jargon, and red tape
- What to put in a CARE package
- How to get the best deal at the post office
- How to make sure your packages make it safely to their destination
- How to pinpoint where your child is and what the weather is like where he is
- How to search for news stories
- How to create a support group for yourself to help see you through a stressful time
- How to do things that really matter to your soldier
- How to make your soldier as proud of you as you are of him
- How to be prepared for bad things and hope for good things and keep your sanity for the next year
You’ll also discover:
- The latest technology that will help you stay in touch with your loved one
- Some really good recipes that ship well and survive desert heat while providing a taste of home far away
And, finally, you’ll get some plain old personal insight into how one family made it through a difficult year with love, humor, and dedication. You’ll hear firsthand from a soldier about what life was like during 2004 in a hostile place.
Staying In Touch
I researched how best to stay in contact with David, how to find breaking news in the middle of the night, how to manage my time and energies to wend my way through the rules and regulations of the postal service to send a weekly CARE package to Iraq, what to actually expect from the Army, how to find emotional support, and much more. In the course of reaching out and learning all I could about military deployments, I met some incredible and loving people whose children were in David’s MP Company. Together, we supported each other and our own soldiers as well as many others.
I did everything from experiment with cookie recipes that would survive the 6,000-mile trip to reading about the history and culture of Iraq.
I’ve included in Mom’s Field Guide most of the practical as well as spiritual and emotional things I’ve learned over the course of the year that David was in harm’s way.
Here is some of what you’ll find:
- Each chapter begins with an e-mail from a soldier.
You will gain insight into what life is like for a deployed soldier.
- You’ll gain insight into the heart and mind of one military family member.
Learn from our experiences how to handle the emotional trauma.
- I’ve provided a practical look at surviving the stress and anguish.
You will benefit from my experiences. Know what to expect. Know how to deal with the fear.
- Included is the longest list of CARE package suggestions available anywhere—each one field-tested. Advice on what to send and what not to send.
You won’t have to rack your brain wondering what to send or whether it will survive the heat.
- I offer sound advice on how to find news of what’s really happening over there.
You won’t have to depend on the possibly biased, certainly commercially driven U.S. news outlets.
- I’ve given suggestions on how to form support groups, create private Web pages for communication among the group, or just how to contact others and stay in touch with them.
This is the single most important thing I have to tell. Find others who are in this with you. Don’t walk this road alone.
Everything I’ve learned during that year is contained in this book. You can put this knowledge to work right away and save yourself the time and stress of having to do the research yourself.
What a wonderful read. I know how beneficial this will be to others. I don’t know what I would have done without the friends I made in the 66th MP group of Mom’s and families and the support that was given and shared so freely. I think I would have gone crazy. You and others helped so much with sharing the news of hearing from your loved ones. It was almost like when one of us heard from one of our loved one we all shared in it. It seemed to give us all a little peace of mind and comfort. I will be forever grateful for the friends and acquaintances I met in the group and I will forever be grateful to all of our sons, daughters, husbands and wives that served.
Thank you for writing this book. I wish we would have had a book like this when our loved ones went to Iraq. Ours was definitely hands on learning by trial and error. Good luck in the publishing of it.
Love n Hugs,
Don’t do it alone. Mom’s Field Guide includes:
- Advice about time zones, geography, maps, climate.
You will be able to know when the day starts for your loved one, what the weather is like, what kinds of items would be good to put in CARE packages.
- Advice about military procedures and who is responsible for what and who can help in a particular circumstance—rear detachment commander, chaplain, commanding officers, the Red Cross.
Know what to expect in every circumstance—what the military will and will not do for you in case of the death or injury of your loved one. Who you should contact under what circumstances.
- Different communication methods are explored.
Learn about some technical products that will help you during your year of fear.
- Explanation of some pertinent military jargon.
You’ll better understand the terms and phrases that sneak into conversations with your loved one. Less time spent saying “what does that mean?”
I just read your first chapter while crying through most of it. That year was so traumatic for all of us and just reading your words brought a lot of it back to me. Thank you for writing this. I am sure it will be well received and it is much needed.
Big love and tons of peace~xoxo
And . . .
- Practical detailed advice on what to do FOR your soldier before he leaves and while he’s there.
Keeps him more comfortable and helps with morale.
- Practical detailed advice on what to do for YOURSELF.
This is not the stuff you read in other such books—how to find a plumber, how to hug a pillow instead of your husband, or how to manage finances with someone else.
This is for parents and other family members who just want to “Be all they can be” for their soldier. Spouses will benefit from reading this book too, but it is not written specifically for them.
You’ll feel better knowing that you are doing something of benefit to the troops, not just worrying pointlessly.
- Tested recipes that ship to the Middle East well.
No need to experiment. I already did that. Send a Twinkie and take your chances, or read this book and learn what to send. When it’s safe to send chocolate and when it’s not.
- Advice on how to put together your understanding of the geography of the Middle East with what you hear in the news and have a little better knowledge of whether your loved one is in more or less danger today.
Get a good night’s sleep. Worry only when there’s really something to worry about.
- An explanation of “relational geography”
Be better able to explain to others where your child is and what he’s doing. Do it so they get a graphic understanding of the terrain.
- Lists dozens of Web pages that contain info you’ll need.
The reader will not have to search for these sites as I and the rest of my friends did. We did the research for you.
You are Amazing!!! You have put down in writing all those thoughts and feeling we all have felt over the time our sons and daughters have been in the service.
Over the time we have gotten to know one another on our internet site you have all become like sisters and brothers that I can tell my deepest feelings and concerns to without worry of ridicule and if you did laugh we all laughed. when we cried we all cried. enough your book is great!!!
Support Our Troops
Practical advice for the rest of the country
- Learn how to do more than wave a flag or stick a magnetic ribbon on your car.
- Do something that really does help and support the troops.
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