Monday, March 26, 2012

Halfway There

Well, it's nigh the end of March. 

I've been at A-School since January 7th and it's scheduled to wrap up June 29th. 

These first three months have had us sailors working in conjunction with members of the other armed forces and it's been pretty neat.  For one thing, I had no idea what to expect.  I've never lived on an Army base, I've never been in the military before, I've never interacted with service members so thoroughly before - mainly just in passing.  But you know what I've learned?

Service members are people!

I mean, duh, of course they are, but up until this point I've always thought they were something more; something like super people, or super human, even (and in regard to toleration of punishment I think maybe the Marines are) but the fact is they all - we all - are just people.  There's not a one of us who is here under the compulsion of another; any degree of compulsion is wholly originated in the self.

How a person goes from being a civilian to a member of the armed forces has always been a mystery to me, but now I've been through the process and the simplicity of it all is simply stunning.

It's a matter of making a decision and following through with it.

Yes, boot camp is involved and along with that no small amount of grief and abuse but that's just there to test your resolve - "Do you really want to be a sailor/soldier/Marine/airman?  Are you sure??

And that practice grief and abuse coming from trusted instructors in a learning environment (albeit admittedly harsh, especially from what I hear the leathernecks go through) is merely a taste of what we can expect when we deliberately place ourselves in harm's way.

After talking to some soldiers who've been out in the field for a few years I'm glad I joined the branch that I did.  God bless the infantrymen who see the faces of those they kill, who witness the deaths of their brothers and sisters-in-arms from not a foot away, who deal with death's most gruesome expressions more days than they don't.

I'm reminded that though I'll be on a ship and the likelihood of such experiences is smaller, it's not out of the question.  In October 2000 the USS Cole was attacked and 17 sailors lost their lives.

But that's at least three to four months out for me. In the meantime, I'll get this blog going again.  Among other things, there's a dearth of information out there about the MC rate in the Navy so I'll share some of my own experiences.

If you're an aspiring sailor and are exploring the MC option I'd also recommend checking out this blog: I Am Your Eyes.  And if you're just interested in seeing what boot camp is like, I'll talk about that a bit, too.

Happy Monday!

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