God, Country, Notre Dame ... and Family

Spring 2015

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When Jim Leady tells the story of his first military deployment 10 years ago, there’s a point where he pauses, then pauses again before giving up on trying to describe what the experience was like.

It is not when he recounts arriving in Iraq in 2005, and being the sole occupant of a zeppelin-sized tent constructed to house 100 troops. Odd as it was to be living in a virtual Army ghost town set in the alien sand-and-rock landscape, Leady didn’t let the isolation get to him. He was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, an officer and reservist in the Army for more than a dozen years and a pragmatic guy by nature. The assignment was temporary, he had a job to do, and all the extra space wasn’t such a bad thing.

Neither did the pause occur because he was reliving some harrowing battle scene. Leady, an assistant teaching professor in finance at Mendoza, didn’t see combat. He was a logistics officer, stationed on a major base with 20,000 soldiers. He worked mostly in an office and felt about as safe as a person could in a war zone.

The question that caused pain to glass over his friendly gaze and choke off what had been a straightforward interview to that point was this: What was it like leaving your family?