In the Army we use an operational term, generally reserved for tactical situations - "break contact".
We use this term as a directive during tactical situations in order to discontinue any contact with an opposing force. However, like so many aspects of military life the tactical starts to merge with the practical. Today, the term "Break contact" is used in everyday army life too. Someone might say, "okay, let's break contact," to signal the end of a conversation or meeting. In general, the term signals an end to any contact with another individual or group (informally speaking).
So, here we are at the end of phase one of our deployment - phase one comprising of our time here in Bryan for our pre-mobilization training (to include our three weeks at Ft. Dix).
For the next two weeks the Soldiers of the 211th will break contact with each other. It is our privilege to get some time to head home for the holidays and a well-deserved break. In essence however, as we break contact with the unit, it really is the final preparation to break contact with our families for the next year.
For me, it is a difficult time. I've grown to appreciate each Soldier in the 211th and being away from them for the next couple of weeks will surely be a challenge as we have all grown so close - I honestly look forward to having them all back together again.
At the same time I am anxious about breaking contact with my own family for the next year. The holidays are an emotional time for most people. It's generally a time for coming together, renewing family relationships, remembering old times; renewing spiritual commitments and a host of other very positive aspects. Underlying these feelings this year is my upcoming deployment. Some of you may feel the same.
It's time to Mark the Moment. Make a decision to make this time memorable and filled with great experiences. I will strive to focus on making this year a great memory, just like all the years before. What I won't do is wallow in my concerns about the year ahead and about the challenges of breaking contact with my family and friends.
Every year, the holidays allow us to bring together those we love. Families and friends reunite, share the experiences of the past year, laugh and cry, eat and likely laugh some more. Since our childhood most of us look forward with great anticipation to the holidays - an annual reunion of hearts.
While this year we may be anxious about breaking contact with those we love most for the year ahead. We look forward with great anticipation to our reunion with each of you, our family and friends a year from now. Regardless of the day we return, it will be like Christmas day - no doubt we'll share with each other the experiences we've had, we'll probably eat like it was Thanksgiving day; we'll laugh and probably shed a tear or two.
As a kid I sometimes would count the days down to the next Christmas beginning December 26th. I couldn't wait to get there. I couldn't wait for the magic of the season.
I, for one, will be counting down the days until our return. Today I officially put my family and friends on notice that no matter the day we get back, I expect presents, food, a good laugh and a big hug.
Until we MAKE CONTACT again, Happy holidays.