This morning I received a call from my son. He tells me his unit has been running almost continuous missions since he's been in country. Obviously he could not tell me where he has been traveling. We had a really nice, long chat. He told me the phone center wasn't busy at that time of the night, unlike the internet center. Which tells you a lot about communications in this day and age when you think about it.
He had a few choice words for the "extra armor" that has been much talked about. Essentially, the new side panels are useless. They will not stop a rifle round but make movement very difficult. None of the troops like them. He's very happy with the class 1 armor his unit's vehicles are equipped with and said he'd had first hand experience with it's effectiveness, which is not something a father wants to hear.
He's confident in his unit, his officers, his mission. It shows in both the words and the tone in which the words were delivered. He's proud of the members of his squad and confident enough in them to joke with them. He's currently working on getting promoted to E-6 and his unit's officers are supporting him. He says relations between units is very good this tour, better than they were the last time he was there.
It was a really nice chat. How much harder it must have been in past wars.