J. R. Slade, "From a Corner of Comfort to a Land of Chaos"
J. R. Slade, From a Corner of Comfort to a Land of Chaos
Saturday, November 23, 7pm
J. R. Slade, a full-time Law enforcement officer and part-time Army Reserve soldier was living a comfortable lifestyle, along with his family in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. It was on a cool evening in March of 2006, when his life was suddenly changed by the delivery of an unexpected document, the contents of which were even more surprising. Inside the envelope was a document informing Sergeant Slade that he had been selected to be deployed to Iraq to fight in the war on terror. Military men and women are expected to rise to the challenge, and to be prepared for, and to respond to, such notifications. This notification was different. Out of a unit of roughly 125 soldiers, the full-time law enforcement officer and part-time soldier was the only one selected for deployment. Sergeant Slade was surprised that he was selected at such a late stage in his career. He was in the middle of planning his retirement from the military in a matter of eight months. Circumstances changed, and within a few weeks, Sergeant Slade was forced to leave his family behind. He was eventually deployed. The deployment was to last for approximately fifteen to seventeen months, exceeding his remaining time in the military. Being notified of deployment at such a late stage in his career was certainly unforeseen. Against the backdrop of war, Sergeant Slade reveals the complexity of serving his country. He found himself, along with two other U.S. soldiers, three Iraqi interpreters, living and working among a large group of Iraqi soldiers. He struggled with his emotions, as he tried to survive the day-to-day turmoil of war. The assignment in Iraq became a priority in his life, and almost nothing else mattered. Sergeant Slade had signed a contract with the U.S. Army and was obligated to comply. In the end, Sergeant Slade had to find the inner strength to cope with the mental anguish, as a result of his deployment. An emotional seed was planted in his life from day one of the notification, and it grew every day throughout the deployment. This is J. R. Slade's story.