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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The creation of the American Soldier - Initiation part 1

Looking back through nearly 16 years of service to my country it is easy now to determine how a guy in the mid 90's, who, as a matter of fact, wanted nothing to do with the military, became a believer in the system.  Growing up I wasn't a tolerant individual, couldn't take criticism well, and sure as hell did not want anyone telling me what to do, or how to live my life.  There wasn't structure in those late teen, early 20's years, everything was off the cuff and most everything was not planned.  After exhausting all my attempt at school, and frustrating those in my life, I eventually chose to leave my small town of Danville, PA, and start on a journey for which I am still traveling. 

As I arrived to basic training, at the ripe age of 22, I quickly learned how easy it was to be homesick, even after living away form home on multiple occasions while attempting school in the great state of Georgia.  It is much easier to be depressed and homesick when the situation you find yourself is one for which you are extremely uncomfortable.  Let's face the facts, it is never easy when placed in foreign environments, but some are just better at it than others.  Good thing is, all that was uncomfortable slowly faded away, and the natural instincts that make us human take over.  Mainly the need to survive. 

I never liked failure, but as I state consistently in my book (Combat Support "The True Burden Of Sacrifice"), I was quite good at it.  Well, the military's basic and initial entry level training was good at helping me figure out that with failure, well, sometimes we find success.  The US Army is very good at not allowing you to fail, "leave no man Behind," that is quite a cliche quote, but it is almost literal.  Fact is, some people are not cut out for the military, but we insist that they can succeed, and in most cases, through repetative training, and re-training, the military has proven that almost anyone can make it.

I never thought I could, never thought I would, but in January of 1997, I took that step - towards the unknown,  but also, unknowingly, into a fraternity like no others, and one that I still cherish to this day.

More to follow.....

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