Image: Tom Deierlein with two other soldiers in Berlin
Courtesy of Tom Deierlein
Tom Deierlein, center, got stationed in Berlin instead of Iraq during the first Gulf War. This photo was taken in Berlin in 1991.
Special to msnbc.com
updated 7/16/2007 6:07:05 AM ET 2007-07-16T10:07:05

Editor's note: Tom Deierlein wrote a series of  e-mail updates to his friends, family and colleagues after being called up by the U.S. Army and sent to Iraq. Here are the excerpts accompanying Part 1 of MSNBC.com's special report, Charity Begins at War.

DATE: Oct. 14, 2005
TO: The Dynamic Logic staff

SUBJECT: Tom Deierlein Called to Active Duty Army

All,

I didn’t want you to hear it through the grapevine.

When I got home Wednesday night, there was a packet of military orders in my mailbox.

No joke.

I am being called up to serve for 545 days, reporting first to Fort Jackson and then to Fort Bragg and then likely to Iraq. Yes, I guess it has gotten so bad they are calling up 38-year-old, beer-bellied has-beens. Basically, four to six months of training and a one-year tour.

I have been in the IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) for 12 years. I haven’t been associated with any unit or been a part of any training whatsoever. I haven’t had a uniform on since October of 1993, so I never imagined that this would happen.

Aside from a medical exam or two, and an outside chance that Uncle Sam comes to his senses, it looks like I need to take a leave of absence from Dynamic Logic.

I have the full support of Hiwot, my fiancée, and something told me not to fight this but rather to embrace it and go ahead and serve my country with honor, dignity and pride. Therefore, unless my medical exams turn something up, I need to start getting my affairs in order.

As many of you know, I am a West Point grad and used to be an elite soldier (Airborne Ranger). I guess it is time to take off my business suit, don my Army uniform, set back the clock and become that soldier again.

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