Year-long deployment: Lessons for my boys from dad

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Robert Melzer
  • 22nd Training Squadron Commander
As we get ready for spring, I thought I might share a letter I wrote for my three young sons when I was recently serving on a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan, where I was flying the mighty Mi-17 Helicopter with the Afghan Air Corps. It captures my explanation of why I had been gone so much, and hopefully, at least some part of the message might sound familiar or have some meaning for you and yours.

I love you.
I'm sorry I've been away so much while you've grown up.
I've been gone because I told our country I would go when and where I was called to serve.
Remember, say what you mean and mean what you say.
I want you all to know that I am so proud of you.
You and your mom are the best part of my life, the rest is gravy.
I want you to trust in your God.
Know that God loves and forgives, you only need to believe in his grace.
Treat others as you wish to be treated, especially each other.
Be a good friend...cherish every opportunity to help your friends...and strangers too for that matter.
Take care of your mom.
She is the love of my life.
May you be so blessed to find a love like the one mom and I have.
Someday, when you're much - much older, try to find a girl that can be your best friend.
You'll know it's right when it hurts to be apart and you wish time would stop when you are together.
I want you to work hard, but know that the true measure of your lives will be the lives you touch.
Base your happiness on your family, for your job is just that, nothing more.
Knowing that, find a job you love.
Do something fun.
Learn to dance...don't be afraid to be silly on the dance floor...girls will dig your self confidence.
Never be afraid to fail.
Make your mistakes full speed.
Better to make a fool of yourself trying something new than to sit on the sidelines watching others. I love you.