Naveed Ali Shah -- A soldier in Iraq and the attack on Fort Hood

By Naveed Ali Shah
Sunday, November 8, 2009

I've been deployed to Iraq for the past four months, and I've figured out ways to cope with the stress that comes from being thousands of miles away from my family.

But I wasn't prepared for what happens when violence intrudes on my loved ones, who are supposed to be safe at home while I am in a combat zone. It flipped all of my attitudes toward deployment upside down. And the aftermath of the attack at Fort Hood, Tex., allegedly committed by a fellow Muslim, also raised a different set of concerns -- not just about my family's safety, but about the perceptions of my faith.

I was working late on Thursday and decided to call my wife, who was at home on post at Fort Hood, to check in. She didn't answer. I tried again. A busy signal. That was unusual, so I went to e-mail her. She was already online. The instant-message conversation we had was so surreal that I ended up posting it on the blog that I've been keeping during this deployment and that was picked up by some media outlets. Here's what we wrote:

Angela: We are on lock down, baby.

me: What?

Angela: We have shooters.

Me: Lock Down?

. . .

Angela: Soldiers? Who is doing it?

me: They're not saying.

Angela: ugh

me: This is ridiculous. I'm in the war zone not you!

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