HOME FROM WAR: Soldier makes return trip after 9-11
The events of 9-11 would alter the course of history and the lives of countless Americans.
Hundreds of thousands of men and women in uniform would march off to battlefields to fight the War on Terror.
And that day would forever change the life of Calvin Hines.
“My mindset is I can’t sit back and do nothing. I have to do my part,” Hines said. “I made that conscious decision to join and continue the fight.”
The events of September 11 drove Calvin to the recruiting office, yet again. During the first Gulf War, Calvin served on the open seas in the U.S. Navy.
“There is a lot of honor you get out of serving,” said Hines. “I was in Iraq and the weather was 130s.”
After the United States invaded Baghdad this former sailor found himself in the middle of a windswept desert.
“Iraq I had several close calls,” Hines said.
Calvin’s decision to sign up didn’t sit too well with all of his loved ones.
“I had a few family members who were angry,” said Hines. They questioned why he would join again.
But Sgt. Hines would not be deterred especially knowing the one person who matters most stands firmly behind him.
“She supported me. She supports me now to this day. I don’t think there is another wife like mine.”
In March of 2011 Calvin marched off to Afghanistan with the 530th Combat Sustainment Battalion.
“Frustrating at first leaving my family again,” Hines said. “It kind of got you apprehensive”
The unit’s mission was to supply the lifeblood of ammunition, food and water to frontline soldiers.
“The comfort of knowing you have enough ammo. Having enough fuel. Having enough MRE’s or water to go out the gate. You know those are necessities.”
Another necessity for Hines and his fellow soldiers? Staying alive while in harm’s way.
“Every day. Every day we thought about it,” Hines says. “You don’t take anything for granted. No time is taken for granted while you’re over there.”
Calvin calls the band of brothers and sisters very real. It is a link that strengthens daily while serving nearly seven thousand miles away from home.
“Each time you get closer and closer to the soldiers you deploy with. They are lifelong friendships that you build. I wouldn’t replace it with anything.”
In January of this year, the 530th Combat Sustainment Battalion’s job in northern Afghanistan would end. But Calvin could not exhale.
“I did it to the best of my ability,” Hines said. “I didn’t relax until I got into bed. Hugged my wife and hugged my kids. It was a relief.”
Sgt. Hines knows another deployment could be in his future. A responsibility he readily accepted on that dark day in September so many years ago.
“I was proud to serve,” Hines said. “If I had to do it again I would.”