germany, army, overseas

SFC Harding- U.S. Army

 

U.S. Army
My wounded Warrior

A tribute to Our Armed Forces

Initially I didn’t envision writing about my husband as one of the first topics for my blog.  However, when your proud your proud.  And boy am I a proud wife. Ron and I have been married for the majority of his Army career and at times I forget he was ever in the military before we met. Fifteen years have already passed since we were married and throughout that time I have been amazed many times over.

Not only have I seen personal sacrifice from my own husband, I’ve seen it time and time again from all his soldiers.  Being a part of a small community like the Army has been the joy of my life. Military families take care of one another. When you need someone the Army has a group, organization or family group for you! There is never a time when you should ever think there isn’t someone who you can turn. While I’m very closed off personally, I’ve had many people over the years step up and offer their assistance to me.

Ron’s Career Has Become Our Home

Because the Army has been Ron’s home for 21+ years, and mine for nearly 16, I am compelled to give the service members the love and support they deserve. Like many Americans we know there is an Army. But don’t really understand what that means. Most Americans even agree its a necessary evil.  After all, peace isn’t likely taking root any time soon.

For those who sacrifice the words freedom, sacrifice, dedication, duty and loyalty mean something far greater than the face value we take them as.  These service members sleep in the dirt, cry in the rain and any number of other sacrifices.  While I don’t know most service members, I love them all. They have a cherished place in my heart for the gift they provide me. Freedom. Regardless why we go to war, one cannot argue without our Army we would not be where we are today. Some other country would have came here and taken away everything we know and love.

For the Love of a Service Member

I want this part of my blog to be a platform. A place where service members can be recognized for the accomplishments they make. Sometimes for a thankless nation. Service members deserve to know they are not forgotten. That we care about who they are and what they do for us. Any service member deserves a pat on the back. Whether they have been in the military a year or 25 they are appreciated. So… who better to start my tribute with than my own husband.

SFC Ronald Dean Harding

21 Years In The Making

The song, below, They Call me Doc, is inspirational to me. It really is what inspired me to go ahead and dedicate a part of my blog to the Armed Forces. A tribute to the men and women who serve America. Only 1% of the American population serve in the military. As of last year, America had over 2.5 million veterans.

Therefore it seems, at least on the outside, the average American doesn’t understand the sacrifices placed on our military to keep our country safe. Each and every time I hear this song it touches my heart.  These men and women sacrifice so much. I’m married to a wounded veteran and a wonderful family man. Being married to the military, it’s often hard to understand why people place so much value in celebrities and so little on those who protect our freedoms.  Don’t get me wrong I have my favorite celebrities like everyone else.

Here is a link to the song: They Call me Doc

The Love of My Life

S. Korea, Army, Military
Correction: SPC Harding at Ft. Irwin, CA

They Call me Doc as a song is the epitome of how I see our military. When it hits the fan, we call upon our Armed Forces.  The picture to the left is of my husband of nearly 15 years.  SFC Harding has served the U.S. Army for over 21 years.  In the next few months he will be transitioning from active duty to civilian life.

SFC Harding joined the military in September 1995. Despite being in Aviation Operations, he wasn’t always in the safe, eerrr safer, job than he’s in now.  When young PVT Harding entered the military he was a forward observer (13F). For those who are unfamiliar, he hiked into enemy territory, located and reported to higher.  Upon entering the military, he went to basic training at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. This lucky young man who joined the Army to likely see the world, stayed in Oklahoma for AIT (training).  Upon graduation he received more than a diploma. Young PVT Harding was off to South Korea.

Uncle Sam Calls in His First, But Not Last Favor

An immediate move to S. Korea was likely the first sacrifice the Army asked of him. After all, he had a pregnant wife at home. Not all was lost though because he had great NCOs and met wonderful service members he still communicates with today. I’ve never served in the military, so I can’t say with certainty, but I would assume seeing young soldiers grow into responsible NCOs is the best part of being an NCO. I do know, for Ron it is. When I think back about the many sacrifices he’s made over the years those things fade away. What is remembered is the people you meet, mentor and influence.  When those soldiers contact many years down the road to tell you that you’ve made a difference in their life, it’s all worth it. Hopefully those soldiers pass on the wisdom. That is what life is all about.

Leaving America to See the World

Once the imprint of other cultures in upon you, your understanding of the world changes.

Usually For the better.

Roadmap, army
A roadmap of 21 years in the military.

SFC Harding’s career is too long to detail it all, but it is worthy of mentioning Joint Base Lewis McCord, or, Ft. Lewis as it was called at the time. After all, he did meet his beautiful wife (me) there.  While I’m a little fuzzy on this one, and Ron can comment and correct me if I am, he moved to Ft. Lewis in Jan. 2000 and the family stayed in Sacramento, CA.  Ron and I met the following year in February.  After just a year and a half we got married in Aug.  Long story short, by the following July (2003) we were moving. I suppose it’s worthy of saying we spent the next six fabulous years in Germany, four in Hawai’i and now after four years consider Texas home.  I guess we are going out with a real bang.

Cheerleading Completion & Deployment Coincide

Germany, Cheerleading, Breezy
When you win the Europeans, you just gotta call dad.

The photo of Breezy is one of another such sacrifice I was talking about. Breezy was in a Cheerleading competition for DoDDS-E schools in Ramstein, Germany at the Air Base. Of course Ron couldn’t go. He was deployed like most of the dads from our small base. In a way I think it made it easier for the kids. It wasn’t one dad, it was all dads and one mom.

Having 50% of the parental dynamic deployed however provided a support system for the spouses and the kids. We were all in it together. The trip to Ramstein was about four hours from our little base in Bayern. Needleless to say, the Ansbach Cougars won first place.  What a cause for celebration for our little team with ten girls. This picture is of Breezy on the phone with Ron. Telling him they won their division.  He couldn’t be there, but we certainly consider ourselves lucky.  The generations of service members which went before us didn’t have the ability to pick up a cell phone and talk to each other. Only a handful of years before we’d have been waiting until he came home to tell him about it.

Transition is upon us

So What Then, Is The Next Step?

For now the time line is unknown.  Ron recently returned home from South Korea to enter into the Warrior Transition Unit here at Ft. Hood. For now it’s doctor visits and VA appointments. We do not really know if the Army will chose to retain Ron, but I do know we are ready to leave the military life behind.  It’s time for Ron to start doing something he loves instead of working so hard.

The military has been good to us, but we are ready to step into the slow lane. I don’t think Ron and I have many moves left in us. Likely before this year is through, and quite possibly before the summer is here, SFC Harding will be Mr. Harding. I’m not sure if its a blessing or a curse.  There is comfort in a paycheck. Comfort in know the mortgage is getting paid.  I know he’s proud of his service. Ron is proud of the many soldiers he’s had the responsibility to lead.

Wedding, Army, celebration
My little hotty on the day we got married.

Two tours in Iraq

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Ron has served two tours over seas. Both times he was deployed to Iraq totaling 27 months in country. At one point I pondered, should I be counting these as years we were married? After all 15 months is longer than some even stay separated.  Sure we worked to stay in touch. We found time to talk on the phone and hear each others voice. Times get hard, we all know that. But when we love is present, when you know your love for each other is enough it’s okay.  Looking back on those deployments it doesn’t feel like he was ever gone. Maybe it’s selective, maybe I’m crazy. Either way it seems like we were always together. Perhaps he sees it differently than me.

Regardless how you look back on deployments  once two anniversaries go by in one deployment, you start to question what you are celebrating?  With technology we were able to stay connected despite the physical distance between us. His first deployment was to Balad and the second was Speicher.

When You Are Loved, You Are Loved

germany, army, overseas
SSG Harding when we first arrived in Germany. Can we get the greens back already?

SFC Harding is nothing short of a well loved man.  His soldiers and proud wife certainly think so.  We can’t be proud of everything we do in this life, but the education we impart on others and the compassion you show in a time of need implores others to do the same. I think like most of us, the best we can do is leave a legacy behind.  We can’t force anyone to see anything from our perspective. If that legacy helps even one soldier stay safe, count your career as a success.

Much in the same way I’m proud of him, I hope he’s proud of me. I can only hope that I’ve been a good enough wife. Provided the support he needed. Of course, if you ask me I would say no. On a personal note I think we are harder on ourselves than others are. For that reason alone I want to create a place for our service members on my blog. A service member should never question if what they didn’t meant anything or if they had a contribution on the world. The answer is yes. No matter how small or insignificant you may think, your contribution is valued. It’s important and America is grateful. So stand tall and hold your head high. You have much to be proud of.

Submit Your Service Member

If you are a service member, or know someone who is please let me now. I would love and be honored to feature them on my blog. By utilizing the contact us, just send me the following information and be sure to include your email.

Name, rank & photo (however many you like)

Branch of service

Years of service

Active, retired or separated

Deployed? If so, when?

Anything you would like included, talents, hobbies, ect. If separated, what are you doing now?

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