I’m going to publish some of my drafts. Here’s one:
Today, someone thanked me for my ~ 21 years in the military. I gave them a “thanks”, because it is nice. In fact, for many years of my service, I didn’t get a thanks. Earlier in my career, I received nothing from our civilians.
To say “thank you for your service” doesn’t really tell the entire story of my service, or that of others. For many of US doing service, it wasn’t a love of country that got us to serve, even though the great majority of veterans do love our country. There was something else propelling us to the enlistment (and re-enlistment) line. Examples are: A relative had joined the service. We needed a JOB. We would get a bonus for enlisting (or re-enlisting). We wanted an education. We needed a skill to fall back upon for our civilian lives. Then there are the True Believers, who think they can change the world. To some extent all of us in the service fall into the True Believers category. Very few of us are psychopaths, although some reveal this flaw in combat. A very few of us are heroes, although that quality shows up at different times, and unexpectedly for the most part.
I have to say, I received so much from the military and in turn, our civilians, they don’t owe me a “thank you.” I have a career after the service; a job where I live a pretty decent lifestyle because of the skills the military taught me. For that, I have to say thank you. I also believe I have the best pension ever. I learned that only 15% of the workforce gets a pension, and in exchange for “writing a blank check, including my life”, I get that pension.
I’ve deployed multiple times. I’ve never thought my life was in danger, even though I’ve found out in after-action reports, it was. I’ve also been physically beat to hell at different times, although it may not show. I have a bad back due to an incident that was less than memorable, a training exercise where I was trying to physically make up for a broken piece of equipment. I tried to lift a 300 lb piece of metal. The lift was a success; the physical stress failed my back. I dealt with that for 15 years where it would flare up now and then. It’s interesting that I hear from some of our Congress that since that wasn’t a “combat” injury, I don’t deserve compensation for it. Unfortunately, we don’t get a choice. If I hadn’t lifted that piece of metal, I’ve failed my mission. If I decided I wasn’t going to do it, I have to deal with legal consequences. When I hear those people say “it wasn’t combat”, I wonder what they would do in my place, and what happens when they get the boot for not doing what they were told to do … legal orders. It’s a little known fact, but there are a lot of training accidents in the military. A lot of people get hurt doing training, especially our most elite forces. Civilians think training is low risk, but it’s not. We train like we fight, and we fight hard.
Interestingly enough, one assignment took me to the Bay Area of California where I did part time work with a private firm in the information technology arena. Yes, Silicon Valley. I acquired an understanding of what real work is as a civilian. I loved it because I learned I could compete in private industry. At one point, I was offered a full time position with a well known firm. A really WELL KNOWN firm. I would have increased my military pay by nearly three times. I chose to stay with the military because I loved what I was doing in the service. It turned out to be a great decision for me personally but financially, I would have done better to leave the military at that point. It makes me kind of laugh when I listen to the warped perceptions military personnel have of private industry. They believe the streets are paved with gold, but fear the unknown. Unlike them, I no longer feared departure from the military because I knew I could compete in one of the most difficult areas to compete.
So you can continue to thank military people for their service. It’s a big deal to those of us who have been in the U.S. military that we’re far and away the greatest military ever. Only idiots want to fight the United States. We’re going to break a foot off in your ass. I think it’s interesting where ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant (the area between Syria and Egypt, east to Iraq) believes they are going to defeat the United States and its allies in battle where they mass troops. No way that happens without truly divine intervention, because that means instant defeat. The United States knows how to deal death like no other entity in the history of the world. I mean even without having to resort to nuclear weapons. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, the United States is so good with its conventional weaponry, we hardly need nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are largely a deterrent against top level adversaries. A nation like Russia needs its nuclear weapons; their politicians need to rattle their nuclear sabres because they know they’d suffer heavy–unimaginable–losses to the United States in the event of conventional conflict. This is not World War II where you hurl hundreds of thousands of young men at the Nazi forces led by a madman. They’d get beaten and get beaten soundly:
I actually respect Russia’s conventional military forces. They have great weaponry and great personnel, but they don’t have the experience we have nor the flexibility in combat situations. At the senior level, the United States and Russian militaries actually have a decent level of respect and understanding of the other side; the politics just suck. Frankly, we are NATO. If there’s one instance where the U.S. military isn’t quite necessary, it’s against North Korea. Basically, we are in the Republic of Korea to keep the South from finally ending the nonsensical disaster that is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Republic of Korea could defeat the DPRK in battle, but the ultimate concern is over a mass homicide/suicide by the North.
No one besides psychotics, lunatics or other nutjobs (aka, ISIL) really wants to sign up to fight the United States. It’s not a winning formula.