I wanted to post an update and thank everyone for their warm thoughts and comments. I decided to drop back to the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) and hopefully I won't be pulled back to deploy. If I do get called back I'll go and lead Marines to the best of my ability because it is my duty. I feel like I made the right choice. I didn't do anything to get out of the deployment, they simply gave me a choice and I hope it all works out. There is still a chance that I will have to go, but that was the best I could do to keep it my choice. Now I sit and wait.
I've spent a lot of time in the last two days thinking. Thinking about my time in Iraq. Thinking about active duty. Thinking about why I joined the Marine Corps to begin with and why I went back to the reserves when I missed it. I thought about how bad some of the leadership in my prior command was and I thought about how great a few individual leaders in that command were. I sat in my office watching at the Marines and Sailors coming in and out of the office cheerfully working. I finally concluded that they deserved better. They deserve someone who's heart is in the fight. Not someone who got out for a lot of different reasons and went back to see if she made the right decision. Over the last six months, I got my answer. I put the uniform back on, this time with Captain bars. I had a better attitude, had a lot of fun and became a better Marine and leader. However, the truth remains the same - the Marine Corps will never change. The faces of the young, gung ho Marines evolve, but the Marine Corps doesn't. I can go back in six months or a year. I have two years on the IRR. There is a strong chance that I will have to deploy during that time or I can start drilling with the reserves again. As a Gunny keeps reminding me, I serve at the pleasure of the President so I am never really free. I kind of like that fact. I'm part of something for the rest of my life no matter what. A commitment I can't break, divorce or run from. I like to think that when I'm 90 and aliens invade earth I'll be pulled back to kick alien ass or that someday I'll really get to be a space Marine (although I can't figure out why Marines are always featured in sci-fi movies when there really isn't much water for amphibious tactics in space). I go back to my other job today with a heavy heart. "I did the best I could with what I had," I tell myself. "It was the right decision for you, today." Still, I wonder if I did the right thing.