Greg Alan Caires: Lieutenant, U.S. Naval Reserve, Public Affairs Officer - Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, International Security Assistance Force; v-p of media relations - Cobham
I am in the process of being deployed to Afghanistan. It is the first time I’ve gone on active duty since I joined the reserves in 2003. I’ve already reported for duty, but it takes some time to do the processing, paperwork and orientation, so I won’t actually be in Afghanistan until the end of February and expect to return home Christmas 2010.
In Afghanistan I will serve as a public affairs officer. My primary duty is media team leader with a mobile public affairs detachment assigned to International Security Assistance Force Headquarters. Essentially what I do is accredit and escort media to forward areas to see the U.S. and coalition forces perform their missions.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be in the military. That dream was finally realized when I was given a direct commission in November 2003.
In civilian life I am vice president for media relations at Cobham. While gone I have a colleague in the UK who will write and issue news releases. I have another colleague in the U.S. who will continue to represent the company at U.S. events. We had a plan for me to hire a deputy in 2011, but given my deployment that timetable has been moved up in an attempt to get someone to help cover my vacancy.
I know I’m not the first nor will I be the last person to put his life on hold and deploy to a war zone in service to our country. However, I sincerely hope, and will try to ensure, that my service and the sacrifice made by my family are worth it.
I have been married to my wife, Jennifer, for 12 years, and though I haven’t been deployed previously she understands the issues and sacrifices required.
It’s my two sons–Griffyn, age nine, and Elijah, age six–and my four-year-old daughter Sophia who don’t quite understand I’ll be away for almost a year.
On the bright side, they’re all digital natives, and I expect to be able to maintain nearly continuous contact via e-mail and Skype. Next to my most significant concern that someone under my command might get hurt or killed, I worry about my family while I’m gone. I miss the physical proximity, which is a fancy way of saying it’s going to be a long time before I start getting my daily dose of hugs from my family again.
If you know someone from the business aviation industry who is currently serving our country in a war zone, please contact David A. Lombardo at email@example.com.