For this week, I picked the three of hearts which led me to “Home On Leave”, part of Katey Schultz’s Flashes of War. Deal Me In is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis. You can find the general guidelines and my list for this year from this post.
This is one of the longer ones in this book (11 pages) and tells the story of Private Bradley Coates, home on leave from Iraq for two weeks. Bradley joined the Army straight out of high school it seemed where he was a wrestler and less-than-stellar student. He works as a vehicle mechanic so he hasn’t seen much of the war outside of repairing all the vehicles.
The story focuses on Bradley trying to reconcile what people see and assume they know of him as a soldier to how he sees himself as a soldier. Constantly being put down by infantrymen whose vehicles Bradley repairs, going home on leave and heading to a party thrown by his brother Jared makes Bradley feel like he can portray himself differently until a couple of infantrymen who are also home show up to the party.
The majority of the war coverage by the media focuses on the front line battles and the soldiers involved in those. Rarely do we get a glimpse at those who support those on the front line but are often overshadowed. I think this story does a great job of shedding some light on an overlooked part of the Armed Services and what they might be going through when they return home, whether on leave or permanently.