Soldiers' Readjustment Isn't Easy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/17/04

Soldiers' Readjustment Isn't Easy

As Kenny Sullivan worked on the motor of an Apache helicopter, he thought about the last 12 months of his life.

"It's unbelievable what changes in a year," he said.

Sullivan learned that lesson the hard way. When he got deployed to Kuwait to repair helicopters, Sullivan had a solid marriage. When he returned from combat, he admitted there was trouble on the home front.

"It's like meeting a new person, really," he said, describing how he and his wife got along after his war experience. "And it takes a while to adjust and get to know each other again."

Sullivan's story isn't that unusual. According to the commander of this unit, eight of the 72 AVCRAD members deployed overseas to fix helicopters now have marital problems at home. Even the secure relationships had turbulent moments once the soldiers landed in South Mississippi. Just ask Tim Lewis.

"The hardest part is coming back and being a regular person," he said. "You're over there, living just for the job. And then you come back here, and you have to be family oriented."

For every struggle to readjust, there are many more stories of joy. Vernon Dedeaux shared one of those stories.

"It was just good to be home, I'll tell you that. It was great," he said.

Dedeaux's readjustment was a lot easier because of all the e-mails and phone calls he made and received during his deployment.

"The biggest thing we often joked about was the weather," he said. "I would call and say it was hot here, they would go, it's hot here. Or it's raining here, it's raining here. And I would go, you guys must be right on the other side of the berm."

The Iraqi veteran is hopeful that others at the AVCRAD hangar will recapture their lives as easily as he has.

by Brad Kessie

Powered by Frankly