Brother Mitch is HOME!

Brother Mitch is HOME!

Unless you never read a thing that I post on Facebook and Twitter, by now you know that my brother Mitch is back in Iowa after being deployed with the U.S. Navy. I went ten months without seeing my baby brother. And I was not alone. His friends and our family, as well as his girlfriend, endured the same length of time without seeing Mitch in person.

baby4A lot can happen in ten months:

  1. My sister Sarah became pregnant with baby number four.
  2. Our dad retired from his sales and marketing job of 19 years.
  3. I crossed off a bucket list item when I appeared on the Today Show on Caucus Day.
  4. Nephew Gabriel and Niece Lucy completed another year of school.
  5. Gabriel, Lucy, and and Niece Amelia all grew a ton. I feel like they grow too much when I haven’t seen them in a couple of weeks. I can’t imagine how different they are after ten months!
  6. Numerous terror attacks took place across the globe.
  7. Iranians fired missiles at my brother’s carrier.
  8. My brother’s carrier was featured on CNN for setting a record number of bombs launched against ISIS.
  9. Mitch’s deployment was extended by one month.
  10. As if I wasn’t emotional enough in my normal state, I now get teary eyed around anything patriotic, having to do with the armed forces, etc.

Mitch Navy ProfileMitch shared some amazing photos and videos with us during this past week. The views were breath taking, and the sleeping quarters were insanely small. They provided a unique glimpse into my brother’s new life as a sailor.

Hannah MitchWe only have a few more days with brother Mitch before he goes back to base. This time he is taking a piece of home with him though – girlfriend Hannah. So, while this big sister is fighting back tears, I will be so excited for the new adventure ahead for the two of them together.

troopsThank you SO MUCH to everyone who has offered words of encouragement, given hugs, and simply let me babble (happy babble, interchanged with the-world-is-going-to-end babble) on and on and on and on. We know there will be another deployment, and I will always need my tribe to talk me off the ledge and then hand me a glass of wine.

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Why we must advocate for the F-35

As of today, my little brother Mitch has been deployed for 108 days.

When his ship departed Norfolk, VA, on November 16th, I felt helpless. The Paris terrorist attacks had just happened the Friday prior, and I know in my heart he was on his way to fight the “bad guys.”

I have been involved in politics since college, and national defense has often been a hot button issue of mine. I feel that my political involvement is doing something to make the world a better place, albeit small compared to what my brother is doing.

In addition to continuing to support candidates who align with my views regarding national defense, I have recently begun to pay attention to the actual issues at hand that directly impact our men and women serving our country. Issue advocacy has a huge impact in our country. While lobbyists get a lot of attention, especially during the recent presidential debates, each of us civilians can have an impact far greater than we realize. Advocacy makes me feel a little less helpless when watching news reports from afar.

An important part of supporting our troops and advocating for them is making sure they are equipped with the necessary tools to perform their work. With military technology continuously innovating at breakneck speed, it is imperative that our aircraft keep pace. There is only one option when it comes to truly top-of-the-line next-generation fighters: the F-35. The F-35C variant, which is intended for the U.S. Navy, the branch in which my brother proudly serves, will be the most advanced aircraft ever designed to specifically conduct aircraft carrier operations.

Each member of our armed services is someone’s brother, sister, son, or daughter. The responsibility rests on our shoulders to do everything in our power to keep these loved ones safe as they lay their lives on the line protecting our way of life. This requires that they have the best technology available and the best tools to accomplish their mission. In terms of aircraft, this can only mean the F-35.

I hope those we have elected to serve our state in Washington, D.C. join me in supporting our military and advanced technology like the F-35. In addition to this being an incredible tool for our military, it is also partly manufactured at Rockwell Collins, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is a win-win scenario for national defense abroad and jobs here at home.

I am proud that U.S. Senator Joni Ernst supports the F-35 aircraft and the safety of our brave troops, including my little brother. I encourage everyone to advocate for this important aircraft being added to our nation’s weaponry.

With our troops, their friends, and families sacrificing so much for freedom, it seems to me to be a relatively small request to provide our armed forces with the most state-of-the-art equipment and weaponry.

Please join me in advocating for the F-35 aircraft, and thank you to the men and women who are serving our country.