Well, yesterday afternoon we arrived back in Jacksonville. In a move reminiscent of our first arrival in Jacksonville, my girlfriend, Stephanie, offered her house as a landing spot until we can find a more permanent place to live for the next month and a half. That is my project for today -- find and get into our house, hopefully on the beach.
As for news, one of Chris's mentor pilots when he first checked into HML/A 269 died in a helicopter crash in Yuma this week. Maj. Freitas was killed flying a search-and-rescue huey doing a training mission, not at war, just doing his every day job. His wife, Jenny, is pregnant with their third child, and their 4 year old and 1 year old will now grow up without their father. Jenny and Cesar won't get to celebrate their 9 year wedding anniversary (the same number of years that Chris and I have been married). It's just so sad.
I don't know why this is hitting me so hard. It's not like we hung out with the Freitas's all that often. In fact, the only time I remember socializing with them, outside of squadron functions (which were plentiful in pre-war days), was at a SuperBowl party at their house -- I was the lone Pats fan the year that they won their first SuperBowl and Cesar gave me plenty of grief for it, until the end of the game. Maybe it's because this is the first friend of Chris's that I have known that died in the line of duty. Yes, there was another friend, Robbie, who died five years ago, but that was when he crashed his motorcycle, not while he was flying his copter.
Please pray for Jenny, her babies, and the two other Marines and the Sailor who died in the crash. Pray for the safety of all our soldiers, sailors, and Marines who are training around the country and around the world. Pray for strength for all the families of our troops. Pray for our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that they may all return home soon and safely.