Robert served 21 years in the Polish army, from 1991 to 2012. He deployed three times as part of the infantry. The infantry are the guys who do the non-glamourous dirty jobs. They wade into fights without hesitation knowing that there is no promise of a tomorrow.
His missions included Kosovo-Mitrowica in 2000 (17 months), Dywanija Iraq in 2005 (19 months), and finally, Ghazni Afghanistan in 2010 (19 months).
Robert tells a small part of his story.
“I was a platoon commander for all three deployments, a leadership role that put me in charge of over 40 infantry soldiers.”
“Being in the infantry meant that our job was combat – keeping my platoon alive was a priority, but it had to be balanced with seeking and engaging the enemy.”
“My most difficult deployment was Afgnaistan. We patrolled nearly every day in a province that was almost completely controlled by the taliban. If I wasn’t outside of the wire on a patrol, we stood ready just inside the gate as a Quick Reaction Force – ready to launch instantly if another mission needed help. Sometimes the waiting is the most intolerable part.”
“My platoon was lucky, we didn’t take any casualties. Others weren’t so lucky.”
“Forever imprinted in my memory was the day we were on patrol when the platoon behind mine was blown up. Exactly where we had been only moments before.”
“After Afghanistan I decided to retire, I simply couldn’t take it anymore. Today I know I did it under the influence of emotions and my mental fatigue.”
“I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I stopped sleeping normally, to this day I still have problems with it.”
“In addition to the lack of sleep, I became hyperactive and hypervigilant. locked myself in the house and started drinking a lot. My family supported me but I was hanging on by a very thin thread.”
“I still have problems with concentration, I am nervous and I don’t mix with people I don’t know, I only feel able to relax in the company of soldiers.”
“In addition, my son was diagnosed with diabetes 3 years ago, he was 13 years old. I need to be strong for him and for the rest of my family – I need to walk these nightmares off.”
“I am very happy with this trip, I will look for God there to help me and my family.”