Whenever I tell someone I am going to Iraq for 10 months, it is clear that they don't know how to respond. The general response is one of condolence; "Oh dear, I'm sorry."
Don't be, it's fine... really. It is not a death sentence, it is my job. I am a member of an all volunteer military force during a time of war. "I take this obligation freely and without any mental reservation."
Yes, it sucks that I have to change my summer plans, it sucks to miss my friend's wedding, and another holiday season. But those are the breaks, no peacetime sailors here. My number got called, so I pack my shit and go. I don't feel sorry about it, so please don't be sorry for me.