Monday, February 7, 2011


After five days of processing at Fort Benning and another day of delay due to the snow I returned home on February 03, 2011.

I had been on active duty a total of 112 day.  This was a very long time to be away from family and my practice but I couldn't help think of the soldiers who have had deployments that lasted over a year and many of them had several deployments. 

The war in Afghanistan & Iraq has been going on for so many years it was all starting to feel like it was  yesterdays news.  I found the very thought of tuning out of a war was particularly frightening and especially unfair to the many thousands of soldiers who are still there. 

Although I was in a combat zone that could be hit by rockets or mortars I generally didn't have to go on missions outside of the wire looking for the enemy.  During my mobilization and training I met countless soldiers that were on combat teams headed for dangerous missions and I think about them every day.

This was a difficult but a memorable ordeal.   Interestingly, I think deploying as a physician would have been more difficult to do after finishing residency when my children were very young, which is when most military physicians are sent on their first (of many) deployments.  I think it's actually easier when your children are older and I've pointed this out to the army and the recruiters.  I also remember being tempted to use my age as an excuse not to join but I know that would have been a rationalization that I couldn't of lived with.  

While being apart from my family and away from my patients was difficult the most enjoyable part of the deployment was, without any doubt, simply being close to the other soldiers on this mission and being there to provide medical care to our troops.  I did love & cherished being able to make some contribution to a very difficult war that has gone on too long.

My enlistment with the Massachusetts National Guard is not yet over and next month I'll be back at my monthly drill.

This will be my final blog edition.

Major Martin Lesser         


Anonymous said...

Marty - So nice to see your reunion photo with family. Am glad you are home safe and wish that could be true for all soldiers. I'm sure it was quite an experience, both rewarding and difficult. Thanks for doing your share. It will be interesting to see how it feels to be back in your practice and home environment, so removed from where you've been and how you were working.
Welcome back, Kristin Grant

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