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See You Soon, Sis

As I mentioned in the State Journal story about me, I have a younger sister who is being deployed to Iraq. As luck would have it, she spent a week at Ft. McCoy before being shipped out this week, so I was able to drive up and see her for a couple hours on Saturday night. I picked her up at the base and we went to dinner at the Foxhole in Sparta, about 15 minutes away. She opted to eat with me rather than watching her beloved Kansas Jayhawks play their NCAA tournament game against UCLA (she's a KU grad).

Before coming to Wisconsin, she had spent a month training in Texas. She was upbeat, but I could see she was tired and missed her husband, who she married in October of last year. She's being sent to do physical therapy for detainees near the Iraq-Kuwait border. I asked her how many detainees actually need physical therapy as opposed to actual medical care. "Apparently a lot of them hurt their shoulders throwing rocks at us," she joked.

While at Fort McCoy, all the female soldiers have to take pregnancy tests before they're deployed. If you're pregnant, they won't send you. Three of the women in her unit showed up positive on this recent round of tests. And she's pretty sure that they are intentional - given that those women had been away from their husbands and boyfriends for a month.

She said the area where she's going has a lot of British soldiers. She's crossing her fingers that Prince Harry pulls a back muscle and needs some physical therapy. She said that some detainees have been known to walk off, but they always return - since if they're in U.S. custody they eat well and get medical care.

She said the food she'd been eating for the last month was terrible. She noticed the warranty on the coffee maker in the barracks at Ft. McCoy ran out in 1969. She said the rules are obviously strict, but she had considered bending a couple to be able to talk to her husband more often. "What are they going to do to punish me, send me to Iraq?" she said.

By writing this post, I don't mean to imply that my sister is more important than any other soldier going to serve in Iraq - I just happened to have a blog. But I will miss her a lot. I know sometimes it takes situations like this to truly appreciate someone, but for me that's not the case - I have always appreciated how great she is.

So hurry home, sis - we miss you already.

And don't ask what I'm doing in this picture. I have no idea.