21 August 2009

Home on leave

Bill Lawver Sr. hugs his son, Spc. Billy Lawver, seeing him for the first time since he was deployed to Afghanistan in January. Spc. Lawver is home on 15-day leave. When he returns, he will have about four months left in his deployment. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- KATE PENN)

On leave, soldier's thoughts remain in Afghanistan

Spc. Billy Lawver is on leave.

He has 15 days away from Afghanistan. Fifteen days away from searching for homemade bombs and weapons caches with Nero, his bomb-sniffing dog.

Fifteen days away from his forward operating base in Logar Province, where the U.S. military has spent months increasing pressure on Taliban forces, with more boots on the ground and more casualties going home.

Fifteen days out of the year when he's supposed to relax.

But as the 22-year-old sat on his mother's porch Thursday afternoon in West Manchester Township, only hours after the Afghanis had gone to the polls in a national election, Lawver's mind drifted through his apprehension.

"You get here and you start wondering what's going on with my people in Afghanistan," Lawver said. "I haven't heard anything so I assume everyone's OK."


After waiting eight months for leave, Lawver had 16 hours of plane ride to get home. It left a lot of time to think.

"Am I still going to like normal life? What's driving going to be like? What's going to all the same places you used to go going to be like?

"You've just been living quite an exciting life that most people don't get to do. What's sitting around going to be like? Am I still going to like relaxing? I've been turning and burning for eight months. Is just sitting around watching TV going to be as fun as it was before I left?"

Really, really nice story. Read the rest.

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