Posted Mar 28, 2008 08:28 pm CDT
When Alabama attorney and Navy Reserve officer Sterling DeRamus got married, his wife felt reasonably sure he would be a full-time solo practitioner and weekend soldier.
After all, the Berlin Wall had fallen and the Soviet Union had shattered into several small nations. It was years before al-Qaida flew planes into the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon.
“The Cold War had ended and there did not look like any chance that I’d ever be called up from the Navy Reserves again,” DeRamus says.
But last autumn, nearly six years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, DeRamus got the call. He had expected to be deployed, so he decided to search out an opportunity he thought would be an adventure: a stint in Afghanistan. He said goodbye to his wife and two small children and left behind the warm, humid, gently rolling hills of Birmingham, bound for Afghanistan’s frozen, rugged, landmine-riddled mountain peaks.
There, DeRamus once again is reporting for duty, this time to a four-star general who oversees his coordination of 26 Provisional Reconstruction Teams, composed of soldiers from 14 nations. Their mission is to help Afghans build in areas so dangerous that even international development agencies fear to tread. Continue reading…