Pretty much my whole life, I’ve been a misfit. Maybe it’s because I was born a lefty. (Later on, my grand father trained me to be a righty; all the tools in his machine shop were made for righties.)
For the most part, I don’t fit in in the Army either. I think that the Army’s idea of humiliating people into being competent is barbaric and inefficient. I’m not “Hooah”, by any means. That doesn’t mean that I don’t see many good things, and Heaven knows we’re the best in the world at blowing the crap out of the enemy, but I think even that is because of pure logistics: No one but no one can move more firepower and equipment to a battle zone than America.
Army training is a step below what I experienced in law enforcement. It kills people’s confidence.
Every Soldier should be taught–as if he is an initiate in a killing cult, because he is–that he is part of the greatest army this earth has ever seen.
But they are not taught this. They are told from day one that they’ll probably die in Iraq and their families won’t give a damn. Then the Army wonders why the suicide rate is the highest in its history, finally outstripping the civilian rate.
To hell with dying in Iraq. I’ll make those who want to kill me die first. That’s my job as George Patton defined it; not to die for my country but to make the other fool die for his. I admit that the Army took away a lot of my confidence because it treats everyone entering it as if they’re all 18 year old dunder heads. I’ve always had a lot of confidence, or I least knew that if I showed confidence on the outside it would translate to the real thing. The body can lead the mind as the mind leads the body. The times when I was nervous and timid, I’d force myself to get angry. Fear and anger can’t sleep in the same bed.
My confidence is slowing returning, because I see that I have a lot to offer the Army. I want to change it in small ways. To do that I need rank. As soon as I complete my bachelor’s I’m headed to Warrant Officer School.
My primary goals in life are to finally have a happy family life, and to be a good person. No man is an island–I don’t care how tough you think you are or how much of a player you’ve made yourself out to be. Everyone needs someone. I’m able to drive myself when I have others to live for. Living for yourself isn’t much fun; it doesn’t motivate, it drains. Making other people happy makes me happy. Making myself better in every way so I can be of use to others is what drives me now. I like what Kurt Vonnegut said about relationships: Woman want someone to talk to. Men just want someone who isn’t mad at them all the time. That’s fricken hilarious, because it’s true.
So last week, I attended the Soldier Of The Month Board. At the SOM Board, a Soldier is brought before several Non-Commisioned Offiers and drilled with questions about the Army, his uniform is critiqued and most importantly his confidence is challenged and observed. It amazes me that the army places such a high value on confidence but does everything it can to take it away. Even though I’ve lost some of my confidence, I still display more of it than most of the people of my same rank. Why is this? The Army’s doing things the wrong way, that’s why.
Anyway, I won the board over two other soldiers of my rank and was later nominated by a group of NCOs at the weekly training meeting to attend the Soldier Of The Year Competition in Mannheim, Germany. At the SOY, there’ll be another board, a timed ruck march, a physical fitness test, a rifle range and a land navigation course as well as a written essay. Ten Soldiers will be attending.
Really, my goal is to not embarrass myself or my unit. I have very little time in the real Army and was selected over another Soldier who has been in the army for 6 years. But she can’t ruck march because of injuries. She does however have more army knowledge than I do. I was chosen primarily because of my competitiveness and physical capabilities.
I’ll make sure to get photos and post them here.