Tag Archives: lifestyle

I’m done!

Today marks the official end to my military service. I’m currently sitting on a plane thirty thousand feet in the air writing this. What’s funny to me is that I started my military service by taking a plane ride and here I am four years later on one marking the end. As I sit on this plane I can hear the silence pulsing through the air and that only means one thing; I am free at last.

I’m a bit disappointed in the way my unit handled my decision to leave but I feel like I am finally on the long road to inner peace. My service has changed my perspective on the world in so many ways. The boy who naively landed in Fort Jackson is no more. I have been tested both mentally and physically by my experiences. I look around the plane and I feel like my contribution to the country no matter how minuscule was worth it.

I have many things to learn about the civilian world as I transition into an every day life. Although I hated the hardships that I’ve endured I am forever grateful to the individuals who helped me cope with them.

I can now see the Rocky Mountains in the horizon and I know that I am ready for what the future has waiting for me.
I remember one of my Drill Sergeants saying, ” You may not know it, but someone back home is looking up to you right now, so if you’re thinking about quitting think of them and keep going, because there is three things you never give up on, your family, your country, and yourself.”
I will never be able to forget those words as I move forward with my life.

I leave y’all with this quote that I found inscribed in a castle in Norwich, England.

My road calls me.
Lvres me West, East, South, and North.
Most roads lead men homewards.
My road leads me forth.

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Why

I can’t count the number of discussions that I’ve had with a good friend of mine. The question that is always discussed between us is, “Why join the military to fight for your country?”

If anything I think that this question has many sides to it. On one hand I try to look at it from her point of view, but society is much different in Texas than in Austria. So I’ve spent my last weeks here in the military thinking of how to write about this topic. I would hope that I played a small part in defending freedom. Whether you agree or disagree with the conflicts that we are involved in, as cheesy as it might sound, I believe in this country. I remember sitting in my classroom looking at the Twin Towers being attacked and I remember feeling so hopeless and defenseless. I never wanted to feel like that again so I decided right then and there that I would do my part for this country. Now I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed every day here, but I’m doing this so that I can play a part in never feeling like that ever again.

On the other hand we(the military) are often portrayed as brainwashed and on a mission to kill everything. I can’t say that I agree with that because it is generalizing everyone into a single category. Now I’m not saying that we are all saints, but we sure as hell aren’t all on some crazy path. Behind the propaganda and bad publicity we are just normal individuals trying to live life.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.
John Stuart Mill

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Homeward Bound

I remember laying in bed for the first two days after being back not able to sleep. The springs leave a lasting mark on my back as I toss and turn. My body is beyond tired but my mind tells me to keep going, I don’t know what’s happening. It all feels like a life time ago that I left home. I’ve traveled over 30,000km on different assignments with the military. 30,000 different places that my heart has left a small piece.

As I get closer to the end I become more restless. I don’t know what the future will have in store for me, but for now I have 30,000 reasons to be happy to have the opportunity to move forward with my life.

No matter what path you take with your life, it’s beautiful and don’t you forget that.

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I’m back

It’s been two months since I’ve returned from my deployment. Two months might seem like a lot of time to some people but it feels like I just got back. I’ve return to the states with more questions than answers about myself. I had a year to reflect on life and the impact that I’ve had on people whether positive or negative. Sometimes I sit and wonder if I’ve made a difference in the grand scheme of things.

I was hoping to write some grand master piece to summarize my recent experiences, but I don’t know what to say. I get back and sometimes I feel like I had more to do with my time when I was deployed. I feel lost at times. I keep saying this line over and over but I think it’s true. I’ve left a little piece of my heart everywhere I’ve been and sometimes it feels like I have nothing left. I know for a fact that my deployment would have been one million times more difficult if I did not have the support of friends and family. So if you helped me while I was gone I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now that I’m back I have all the time in the world with nothing to do, or so it seems. I have about fifty days left in the Army and I am both excited and terrified of what’s to come. On one hand I will get to traverse the world again and on the other I will start attending school. I don’t know which is more scary, exploring unknown parts or leaving the Army. As much as I bitch about it, it’s not bad. I think that at times the bad outweighs the good, but it is the love for my country that makes it worth it. Wars whether justified or not are fought by my brothers in arms and I am honored to have been a part of that 1%.

I had the chance to impress a young lady with my writing a few weeks after I got back. I still vividly remember what I wrote and I must say that I was quite pleased with myself.
I visited the city of San Antonio and I went to a new restaurant called Cured. The food was fantastic and at the end of the meal patrons of the restaurant are asked to write something about their experience so I did.
As I walked to the restaurant the scenery reminded me of my European travels. I was in awe over the architecture of the entire area. As I entered the restaurant I was greeted by the most beautiful hostess that I have ever laid eyes on. It felt like Christmas morning. that’s about all I remember, but the moral of this story is that one should not be afraid to try things. My last sentence is obviously contradicting my previous paragraph, so I do not follow my own advice.

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This is the end

I wanted to write a final post to do a self reflection on my deployment. I thought about what I would write and I had more questions than answers to my writing.

If somebody asked me to give them one word to describe my deployment I would have to say pointless. After a very long year this word keeps constantly ringing in my head. I think that most deployments either add problems or amplify the problems that one has. How is it that I personally know more than one person who has to take sleeping pills to even think about getting a couple hours of sleep? Common sense would tell you that something might either be happening in their life or the deployment. Yet, all we do is throw pills at the problems. In my opinion it only makes things worse.

I would love to say that I had a productive year, if anything I spent longer staring off into the desert losing my mind. There has to be a reason why God created this region, and I tried to look beyond the stereotypes. I can honestly say that I will never come back here nor do I have the desire to. Call me an ignorant American fighting for a false cause, but don’t be mad because while I try to fix the problems you hide behind words like intelligence and morals. The truth is, no matter how much you might hate our cause, at the end of the day you need us. You hide behind your words and say you don’t need us, but at the first sign of trouble don’t demand that something be done. Either you stand behind us or in front of us, either way I don’t give a damn what words you use to justify your nonexistent intestinal fortitude.

I went to Europe during my mid tour leave and I had the time of my life. I also got into an argument in Poland with a Canadian. Here is what transpired.
Canadian: why do you always invade countries and kill innocent people?
Me: what do you mean? How do you know what is actually happening?
Canadian: oh don’t lie to me, you invade countries whenever you want and kill everyone
Me: while I don’t personally agree with our conflicts I do my part for my country
Canadian: well you need to do something about Syria
Me: you just said that you hate when we go into a country…but going into Syria is ok?
Canadian: yes! They’re killing innocent people, somebody needs to stop them
Me: you can’t pick and choose what countries we should go into, let syria figure out their own war, it’s not our damn problem
Canadian: you need to go in there and help them, America never does anything good for the world
Me: is German your national language?
Canadian: ummm no….why?
Me: you’re welcome, now shut the hell up and let me enjoy my vacation
Canadian: $(&:$:):&;@;”;$:))(&?

The moral of this story is, don’t complain if you are not willing to do your part. And most important of all, don’t interrupt my vacation with stupid arguments.

I have learned so much about the members in my squad. Sometimes it feels like we know each other more than our family does. We’ve spent the better part of a year together learning about each other. A family member can say that they know you better than anybody but the truth is that, they don’t know how their loved one looks like after a seven mile run, they don’t know what they smell like after days on end without showering, they don’t know how they react under pressure. That’s the lovely thing about the military, I’ve met some great people throughout my time here. They’ve helped me through the lows and highs of my military career. Some people have asked me why I am leaving the military and the truth is that I am tried. I am tired both physically and mentally. I personally feel that political correctness is going to be the end of our professional military. I cannot deal in an environment where it feels like I am walking on egg shells because somebody might get their feelings hurt while I’m doing my job. We all chose to join the Army, the Army didn’t join us, so you either get acclimated to the military environment or you get the hell out.

But none of this self reflection that I have done throughout this year would have been possible without the support of friends and family. The best feeling in life is getting a care package and opening it. It made me feel like Christmas morning inside whenever I was opening up the packages. Talking to my friends in Europe helped me keep my sanity.

Where I’ll be in life five years after the military, I do not know. But I know that I will take the experience both good and bad to my next journey in life and better myself.

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Well ladies and gentlemen I completed my first mock promotion board. I only had about one day to study for this and needless to say I was extremely nervous. To many people in the military becoming a Non Commissioned Officer is a huge goal and I am thankful that I have been put in this position.
The Corps of Non Commissioned Officers is known as the backbone of the Army and is the most professional NCO Corps in the world.

I knocked three times at the door, my heart was pounding with each knock I gave on the door, and I heard “ENTER! “. As I entered the room i tried to concentrate and shake off any fear. I reported to the board as ordered and the rest was history. I was in there for about half an hour and to me it felt so short.

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Sigh

I do not think that I have been more disappointed with members of my unit than I was this morning. Everybody signed a contract and swore and oath, it is implied that you must be physically fit. I am not the most fit person but when a person cannot keep up for fifteen minutes I don’t know what to say to them. Going on runs in the morning is probably the easiest thing that we will have to do all day, so why complain?
The longer I am in this unit the more I realize that things in the military are changing. It is as if all the new people are so sensitive about any little thing. What happened to putting boot to ass and just doing what you are told? I do not like the direction that this is heading and I think that it will only get worse. I wonder what Basic Combat Training is like now with all this sensitivity training that we must do.
Is running at a seven minute mile pace too much to ask these individuals that are supposed to be able to overcome hurdles in life? I am at a loss for words. God knows that I have not been the best soldier that I could be, but now that the opportunity has presented itself, for me to maybe join the Corps of Non Commissioned Officers, I now understand what my NCOs have tried to instill in me. At times things will not make sense and you might hate what you are doing, but is it ethically or morally wrong? If the answer is no, then shut the hell up and do it.

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?

I have come to realize that during my time here I have learned some interesting things. I realize that I truly hate this place. The word hate is a strong word and I do not think that it gives this place any justice. This entire place could catch on fire and I would not care one bit. “Well you signed up for it so deal with it”…yeah the thing about that is, I have had enough.

I can remember going through Basic Combat Training and thinking that deploying would be the coolest thing on earth…oh boy how wrong was I. I think the worst thing about being here is being alone. No matter how many people stand by your side here, it feels like I am alone. I do not think that I have been around a group of individuals who have been as depressed as the ones by my side. It is difficult listening to people’s problems when I am having a hard time myself. It’s not that I don’t care about them…it’s just that I don’t really give a damn to listen to sad stories. Being away from home is not something that we are not accustomed to…but for some reason this feels different. I think that being surrounded by negativity drags everybody and everything down.

I canNOT wait to be back in the great state of Texas. I think that it’s the best place on earth. I am also looking forward to traveling around Europe after my contract ends. I am excited to see what adventures I find myself in. I think that I am most excited about going to Austria, The Eagles Nest is something I really want to visit, retracing the steps of Easy Company in WWII would be a blast.

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Blah

It’s a full moon tonight and as I look into it I can’t help but wonder where you are. The constant wind blows sand into my thoughts and your face fades with each gust of wind. I guess that being out here makes memories seem better than what they actually were. The more time that I spend here the more my perspective on life changes. My worst enemy is you.

As I scan my unit from left to right I can see their motivation running on empty. It is very difficult to motivate somebody else when it’s hard waking up and putting a smile on. If you can’t find something to be thankful for when you wake up, the fault lies only in yourself. Our environment might be a sea of stupid, but we hold the reigns to our own fate. I’ll be damned if I let this place get the better of me.

I wonder what life will be like when the day comes that I wake up and the Army is nowhere in sight. Will I miss this lifestyle? I don’t know, but the thought of leaving seems bitter sweet at this moment.

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Memorial Day

It is currently 3am on the 27th as I write this and for everyone back home it is still the 26th of May.

I am posting this to share a common trait in fellow service members. We joined for various reasons and we knew what could happen if we did join, but here we are over 10 years after September 11, with many stories both good and bad. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to serve and wear the same uniform as some of these people. I think that many people forget why we have Memorial Day. “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish”
 
Here is a couple pictures that I want to share with y’all, this is what he wrote to be read at his funeral.
 
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To close this out, here is my favorite poem by Chief Tecumseh

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and Demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and Its purpose in the service of your people.

 

Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, Even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and Bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and For the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, For abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

 

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts Are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes

They weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again In a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

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