Hair Balls was able to check in by e-mail with Houstonian Private First Class Matthew Slayden, currently deployed to Baghdad with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. Married, with a wife and kids at home, Slayden is scheduled to return stateside early next year. We got to ask him a little about his life in Baghdad.
Hair Balls: What's your typical day like this holiday season?
PFC Matthew Slayden: I wake up at about 8 a.m. and go to work. Some days are different than others but we always have work to do. I am a mechanic so most of my work consists of working on vehicles. We usually get off anywhere from 5 to 7 p.m. I then go eat dinner and try to play basketball. I then talk to my wife and kids for a couple of hours before I go to bed.
HB: What do you most miss about home? What here at home do you worry about?
Slayden: I miss my family, but my wife and two kids the most. They are my life and they keep me going when times are tough. I can't really say I worry about too much, my wife gets stuff done; the only thing I do worry about is them being in the house all by themselves.
HB: What do you want people here to know about the situation that soldiers face on a day-to-day basis in the Middle East?
Slayden: I would like people to know that a deployment is rough and it's not easy leaving everything you know, love or care about for a whole year.
HP: How have you changed since you've been deployed?
Slayden: I have changed in many ways, but the main way is that I learned to appreciate things a lot more now from seeing how people live over here. It will humble you.
HP: What changes have you seen in your fellow soldiers?
Slayden: think they all have changed in some way but for the most part, I would say they have become appreciative of what they have.
HP: How do you handle the danger you face everyday?
Slayden: I wake up in the morning and I give thanks to God and ask him to keep me and my fellow comrades safe.
HP: Having seen what you've seen over the last few months, would you volunteer for the armed services again?
Slayden: I would in a heartbeat. I know my family is safe because of me being over here. I also love being able to help people that are in need.
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HP: What can everyday Americans do to help you and your fellow soldiers?
Slayden: I would say to keep us in your prayers and send some packages. Stuff like that stuff builds our morale up.
HB: Shout-out time - who do you want to say hello to?
Slayden: I want to say hello to my wife (Meghann) my two boys (Karsten & Kash) my mom, father, brother (Mitchell) and my two best friends (Freddy & Salgado).