During My last deployment to Afghanistan, let’s just say things started a little rough. On our Pre deployment with the 102ND Infantry from Connecticut, My 88 year old Mother passed away in November.
We arrived in Afghanistan in January 2010 and my two aunts and 1 Uncle all passed away within a month of each other. around Easter Sunday, my unit decided that I take two weeks leave to go home first. When I arrived home, my wife suggested we go see her family in Virginia. We packed up the car and headed south. Now we have been married 21 years and spent our Honeymoon at West Point @ the Thayer Hotel. It is a very beautiful Campus and a luxurious Hotel. Being an Army man my whole life I though we would stop and get a room. I drove up to the Hotel on West Point and proceeded to go to the front desk to see if I could secure a room. I introduced myself to the girl at the front desk. I said ” Hi , my name is Sergeant Wagner,,, I am home on leave from Afghanistan do you have any rooms. She said ” I am so Sorry Sergeant Wagner. It’s the National AAU championship this weekend and every school in the country is here with there familys’. These rooms have been booked a year in advance. There is not a room within 50 miles that is not booked! So I started to walk away disappointed, when four Gentleman in Suits overheard my conversation. They stopped me and said ” Excuse me Sergeant Wagner, DID You say you are serving in Afghanistan right NOW. I didn’t know them, so I politely said ” Yes sir, I am home on Leave, I have to return to Afghanistan in two weeks. My wife and I are going to Virginia to visit her family. They all four turned to the girl at the front desk and strongly said ” Excuse me miss, Please find this soldier a room right now! She went in the back, spoke to her manager and came back out with a room Key to a VIP room. The four gentleman shook my hand and introduced themselves. They said Hi. I am General …, This is Lieutenat General …. And General…. ALL WEST POINT GRADUATES, Retired. Thank you for your service in Afghanistan! I have never seen so many STARS in my life. My wife & I spent a wonderful night at West point and in two weeks I could not WAIT to get back to my unit In Afghanistanto tell my soldiers what has happened. That is truly Leadership!! Taking care of soldiers. That is the West Point WAY!!!!
Sincerely Sergeant Mark E. Wagner 102nd Infantry, 10th Mountain Division