This blog entry was written by Shelia Moyer, an Employee Relations Officer who volunteered to serve in Iraq.
I joined the Foreign Service committed to serve and to work anywhere in the world to use my skills to help accomplish our nation’s objectives. I’ve done so willingly throughout my career with great satisfaction. Having fulfilled my requirement to serve at hardship posts, I returned to Washington intent on planning for my transition to a career outside of government, to support young family members now in college or contemplating careers, particularly since I have not been around to watch them grow into young men and women. Because we are a close-knit family, the Foreign Service has always been a difficult sacrifice for us.
I have had the good fortune to live, work, or travel in every geographic region. Along the way, I have lost family members. I have lost close friends and colleagues in Embassy bombings and keep in touch with some who were injured. I recall one colleague’s commitment and testimony following her injury in the Beirut bombing that killed over 400 Marines, “If I could return, I would.” I have reached a point where I could retire without penalty and move on. My plans are once again interrupted by a calling to serve. I have accepted. I have volunteered.
Iraq, however, will be the most difficult for those I leave behind – my family, my husband. This time I have their tacit support, their prayers. They understand that I committed to work anywhere without the foresight of how the world would change or the environment under which we must carry out our day to day tasks. Most of us in the Foreign Service are accustomed to danger, hardship, isolation, but not the perils of war. Regardless of your politics, we have a historic mission in Baghdad. I want to put my management skills to the test. I want to be a part of a historic interagency effort to achieve our most important foreign policy objective.