Dad,
 
Hope everything is great at home. Can not tell you how much I appreciate the care package with Mom's handwriting on the box. I really love what we are doing here and will be sad to leave this country when I redeploy. Violence has accelerated, but does not capture what we see here and what we are doing with schools, women's shelters, wells and roads.  Everything we do hires local nationals, many intentionally to help them learn a trade; and some hire women, a breakthrough in many regions.. We are turning former insurgents into supporters and the anti government elements are naturally fighting back because they are losing territory. Much of the violence we see is linked to the projects we build for communities, a negative reflection of the immense effort we are putting into them.
 
Many articles focus on friendly casualties. Any casualty, friend or foe, is a heavy weight. Unfortunately, readers do not hear about the people we capture when we are ambushed, work with them, help their communities and then gain their support.  I have looked in the eyes of and worked with people who shot at me and their groups are helping us now.  It is fairly typical that the stories from the field do not make it to the tabloids because the men and women in the field are focused on the mission with a sense of patriotism and selflessness that does include self promotion.
 
I just wanted you to know that what we are doing is really working in areas and a spike in violence does not necessarily mean the situation is slipping.  Quite the contrary.  It will take time. Those who think it is taking too long have not looked at all the angles of this incredibly complex campaign.  If only they could see how people are changing and how much we are giving to future generations.  Also, if only they could have the patience parents have and, in my case, Brooke has had in pushing off our marriage until I finish this tour.  I do feel blessed for having had the opportunity to serve here.  Man, it has given me a great perspective and a great sense of what is important.
I love you so much and please give Mom my love.....dogs too.  I can not wait to meet Snipe.  I will slip him a piece of Turkey under the table at Thanksgiving when Mom is not watching.

Love,

Rush
 
[Note:  From Rush's Father]
Dear Friends,
 
I received this email this morning from my son who is serving in Afghanistan along the Pakistani border and has been since January of this year.  What he portrays is the side of the story that none of us hear.  It is worth taking the two minutes to read.  As a father I am naturally bursting with pride but as an American I only hope this message can be promulgated as broadly as possible. Rush, volunteered a few days after 9/11 for the Reserves and was called up 6 years later.  He felt, as an able-bodied young American, after our country was attacked, that he could not face himself if he did not offer his services, if needed.

With all best wishes,

John

P.S. Please forward this to everyone you wish to.  It needs to be read.

(Submitted by Shirley Lord Rosenthal)

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