"You’re going to Germany? Sweet!" That was how news of my deployment was greeted by more than one member of my Air National Guard unit—the 181st Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard.
In the military, the initial criteria for evaluating whether an assignment is a good one include its opportunities for travel and sightseeing. Deployments to training bases like Volk Field, Wisconsin, or Gulfport, Mississippi, are met with yawns or pity. Trips to war zones—the “sand box”—earn you a measure of admiration. Trips to Nellis Air Force Base (next to Las Vegas) or Tripler Army Medical Center (in Hawaii) are greeted with a knowing grin and a slap on the back. A trip to Germany seemed to fall into this latter category. That is, until I described what I would be doing.