I joined the United States Army with encouragement from family and friends.
I joined the United States Army on my own accord.
Actually joining the service was the toughest part. It’s a mystery what happens after you sign the papers. Joining the unknown.
Where do we go from here? What happens next?
Basic Training wasn’t “tough” or “scary” once you get used to the routine. There was a lot of yelling and running. We were nervous boys slowly turning into men. What’s so scary about that?
I wasn’t told what to do every waking moment in Basic. There were times when I had some down time to think about stuff.
We walked a lot. Everywhere we went, we walked. Was it hard? No. The days were just long. We just did what we had to do to get the day completed. That’s all.
Eventually, Basic Training ended and we were real soldiers.
Every day in the Army was pretty much the same. Get up, go exercise, go eat breakfast, go to work, work and then go home.
We weren’t marched around like minions or told to shut up all the time. We had jobs to do and we did them. Mine was working on tanks and it was pretty awesome most of the time.
If you screwed up or slacked off, you’d get called out on the spot. Maybe some push ups or maybe yelled at. It all just depends on who your leader was. I worked for and with some pretty great people in my career.
Once you reach NCO things change quite a bit. Life gets a little more complicated and you’re expected to know more and have more responsibility. But you’re within a brotherhood of Non Commissioned Officers and that was the really cool thing about it. You could talk shit to other Sergeants and laugh about it.
Combat wasn’t what I expected it to be. I expected less death because we had all this awesome equipment. Those insurgents are pretty tenacious though. I expected to be involved more and help out a lot more than what I actually got to do.
I volunteered to go on missions as much as my leadership would allow. I’m not a hero and I just did my part as best as I could. I wasn’t out on the front lines as much as I wanted to be and I would’ve traded my life for any one of those soldiers on any day while I was in Iraq. And that’s not a lie.
Coming back from combat was different. I felt different. I felt used and beaten down.
Recruiting sucked and ended my career. We had such shitty leadership who didn’t care about the welfare of the soldiers. It was like a nightmare that never ended.
I miss my Brothers. I joined the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association thinking I would find that connection like I had in the Army. That feeling is rare, I suppose. If they had a “Nomad” chapter, I would join that.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I hope your weekend is a good one.