I remember exactly where I was the day the towers fell. I was a staff sergeant in the middle of the Arizona desert and like everyone in the military, we knew something big was coming.
I was in Korea when Iraq started. I remember standing in the ops office, watching Shock and Awe. I’d been in the army for 8 years at that point. We’d thought the OPTEMP was high from all the Bosnia rotations.
We had no idea how hard it was about to get.
Looking back on the war, the soldier I am today is not the soldier I was when it started. My marriage survived, thankfully when so many others didn’t. We watched our friends’ marriages struggle through multiple deployments, through infidelity, through the strain of coming home only to leave again after a year or less.
The men and women who served and the spouses who have loved us and supported us through the war deserved a story, a story I felt compelled to tell. I’m not the only person writing about soldiers coming home from war. I’m not even the only person who lived it and is telling our stories.
But I lived the life as the wife, waiting for the phone to ring. I lived with the fear of Fallujah, Ramadi, the triangle of death. Those are places that mean something to the men and women who fought there and to the spouses who waited at home. They are fading from the public eye now as the war slips into the past, further and further from the front and center where it stood for a decade.
Our soldiers, our brothers and sisters and husbands and wives and sons and daughters are still coming home from the war. Many of us will be coming home for the rest of our lives.
And yet, these are stories we need to tell. We need to remember how we moved mountains to make the units ready to deploy. We need to remember the strain of dealing with soldiers doing stupid things while burning off steam. We need to remember the good and the bad, the laughter and the tears.
I write so that people will understand, maybe a little bit better the struggles that commanders wrestle with. So that people will gain a little bit of insight into the lives we lead as we tried to do the impossible and bring our soldiers home. I want to tell our stories – the every day soldiers and spouses just trying to get through one day at a time, waiting for it to be their turn for their soldier to come home.
Our stories matter – to those of us who lived it, to those of us who remember, to those of us who loved a soldier while they were gone at war. Sure, I wrote them as romances but romance, at the end of the day is about relationships and the stories I tell are about the relationships between the men and women who serve and their loved ones and everything in between.
Because who better to deserve a happily ever after than our soldiers?
I hope you’ll check out the Coming Home series. Thanks so much for hosting me today!
Jessica Scott’s Book
She plays by the rules…
Captain Ben Teague is many things: a tough soldier, a loyal friend, and a bona fide smart-ass. He doesn’t have much tolerance for BS, which is why he’s mad as hell when a trusted colleague and mentor is brought up on charges that can’t possibly be true. He’s even more frustrated with by-the-book lawyer Major Olivia Hale. But there’s something simmering beneath her icy reserve-and Ben just can’t resist turning up the heat…
…and he’s determined to break them
The only thing riskier than mixing business with pleasure is enjoying it… and Olivia can’t resist locking horns-and lips-with Ben. He’s got more compassion in his little finger than any commander she’s ever met, a fact that makes him a better leader than he realizes. But when the case that brought them together awakens demons from Olivia’s past, she will have to choose between following orders-or her heart…
About Jessica Scott:
USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs; wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well-adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.
She’s written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.
She’s pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she’s been featured as one ofEsquire Magazine‘s Americans of the Year for 2012.