A Soldier's Log: 001
I can?t give you my name but I can tell you my stories as a currently deployed soldier in the Army National Guard. At this very moment I am on a deployment in Kosovo. I am here patrolling the streets of Kosovo.
Around this time last year I was home with my girlfriend with a great job. Even though I was still part of the Army National Guard I didn?t really feel like I was in the army. I would go to drill once a month which felt more like a hobby than an occupation. Most of the time it was a burden, I just wanted to relax in my house. Instead I went to drill and did nothing important. They would make some classes for us or make us do clean ups. People in the guard are just regular civilians who join because of college money, to hang out with buddies or just to do something beside their boring lives. Of course these soldiers have a sense of pride about what they do but it is not the deciding factor in their enlistments.
Once I found out that I was getting deployed for 18 months to Kosovo it was a whirl wind of emotion. Some of me wanted to save money and most of me was shocked as to how long 18 months really is. Having soldiers away from their families for 18 months is the primary reason why soldiers get out of the army. I have been on my deployment for about 6 months and it is depressing when I think of the time I have left. I am glad to make a sacrifice for my country but not for 18 months.
When you are deployed with a bunch of civilian wannabe soldiers things get stressful. For one thing people think that the active duty army is like the movies, this is a big mistake which gets people in trouble. Once you are active duty the army is your job and your job controls your every move. The army is no longer a hobby but a dictatorship. In other words you must be highly political and careful. Every complaint, action or mistake comes back to you hard and fast. It becomes a whole different world. Even though all soldiers go to boot camp it does not mean that they are ready for a deployment. All soldiers must be retrained and wiped clean of their civilian mentality.
Training for a part time soldier is long and hard. The army method of training is simple. It consists of making you do something over and over again until you can do it in your sleep. This is the secret behind the hard core army training. I call it beating a dead horse. Every instruction manual is written at the eighth grade level so you do not have to be a rocket scientist. For some reason a part time soldier will train for four to five months yet an active duty soldier will be ready in less than thirty days.
This log is the first of many. I will continue to express how I feel as a soldier on certain issues and give you a glimpse of my world. I will do it little by little and hope that I reach someone out there.