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You Can Leave the Military


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#1 tjones1935

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:41 AM

For my Veteran friends and our families !



YOU CAN LEAVE THE MILITARY -- BUT IT NEVER REALLY LEAVES YOU!

This article sums it up quite well. By Ken Burger, the Charleston Post and Courier: Thurs, March 4, 2010

Occasionally, I venture back to NAS, Meridian where I'm greeted by an imposing security guard who looks carefully at my identification card, hands it back and says, "Have a good day, Sr. Chief."

Every time I go back to any Navy Base it feels good to be called by my previous rank, but odd to be in civilian clothes, walking among the servicemen and servicewomen going about their duties as I once did, many years ago.

The military is a comfort zone for anyone who has ever worn the uniform. It's a place where you know the rules and know they are enforced -- a place where everybody is busy, but not too busy to take care of business.

Because there exists behind the gates of every military facility an institutional understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that becomes part of your marrow and never, ever leaves you.

Personally, I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the military, and who you were dealing with. That's because you could read somebody's uniform from 20 feet away and know the score.

Service personnel wear their careers on their sleeves, so to speak. When you approach each other, you can read their name tag, examine their rank and, if they are in dress uniform, read their ribbons and know where they've served.

I miss all those little things you take for granted when you're in the ranks, like breaking starch on a set of fatigues fresh from the laundry and standing in a perfectly straight line military formation that looks like a mirror as it stretches to the endless horizon.

I miss the sight of troops marching in the early morning mist, the sound of boot heels thumping in unison on the tarmac, the bark of drill instructors and the sing-song answers from the squads as they pass by in review.

To romanticize military service is to be far removed from its reality, because it's very serious business -- especially in times of war.

But I miss the salutes I'd throw at officers and the crisp returns as we criss-crossed with a "by your leave sir".

I miss the smell of jet fuel hanging heavily on the night air and the sound of engines roaring down runways and disappearing into the clouds. The same goes for carrier duty.

I even miss the hurry-up-and-wait mentality that enlisted men gripe about constantly, a masterful invention that bonded people more than they'll ever know or admit.

I miss people taking off their hats when they enter a building, speaking directly and clearly to others and never showing disrespect for rank, race, religion or gender.

Mostly, I miss being a small cog in a machine so complex it constantly circumnavigates the Earth and so simple it feeds everyone on time, three times a day, on the ground, in the air or at sea.

Mostly, I don't know anyone who has served who regrets it, and doesn't feel a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and re-enter the world they left behind with their youth.

I wish I could express my thoughts as well about something I loved -- and hated sometimes.

Face it - we all miss it............Whether you had one tour or a career, it shaped your life.

"A veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America "
tjones1935

If you can't fix it with a hammer you have an electrical problem.
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#2 Cyberdave

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:40 PM

That. by far epitomizes, clarifies, summarizes and emphasizes my feelings and every single word rings true.

Good on YA!!
Dave & Tish
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"I went through a door but forget what was on the other side. I would go through it again but I forgot which door it is."

#3 Paul Stough

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:13 PM

This may be true for many who served, but not all. I believe that had I loved the military so much, I would have stayed in till I died, or they threw me out. Some of us enjoy the freedom to make decisions that the control and mental safety the military doesnt allow. Your view also depends on the job you had in the military, and this was evident on my flight to Viet-Nam. While I was just turned 20 private with a 11B MOS, and was apprehensive about going to Viet-Nam, many E-6s and E-7s on the flight seemed to be really looking forward to getting to, or in some cases getting back to Viet-Nam. It wasnt until later in the flight that learned that they were REMPHs, and that they were more likely to get hurt of killed in a jeep accident on the way home from the NCO club late at night, than they were of getting hurt or killed by the enemy.

I would not trade my time in the military for anything, but then again, I wouldnt want to do it again, but I am glad and appreciate those that love the military and make a career out of it.

Best Regards

Paul
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Paul and Ann's Great RV Adventure

#4 RayIN

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 06:26 PM

Eloquently said Senior Chief!

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"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances there is a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of darkness."___Supreme Court Justice William Douglas


#5 RV

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:16 PM

Yep, couldn't have said it better. Thanks for the post! The thing I miss most is accountability. People knowing that regardless of the rank, there is a chain of command above them they are ultimately answerable to. I would not take back one minute of my career, and would not go back for one minute either. I hung 'em yup when it wasn't fun anymore. But all was good before and after. I live near Barksdale AFB now and get the same thing on Base. Even more so at the VA. If someone were to ask me what I liked best about the military, without hesitation I would say the ability to develop people, sometimes in spite of themselves . . . they couldn't quit!
;)
Paul,
Thanks for being there. I usually see an F not a ph in that acronym, but perhaps for polite mixed company?B)

RV/Derek
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Retired AF 1971-1998

When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius


#6 Kirk

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:08 AM

I believe that had I loved the military so much, I would have stayed in till I died, or they threw me out.

There are some of us who left with some regrets, even though there were good reasons for that choice. I joined the Navy thinking career, but life's circumstances changed that. I really enjoyed my time serving on submarines and I believed that I was doing a job which was important to my country and the world. But along the way I met & married my mate and by the time that I neared 8 years of service, there were also two small boys to consider.

Looking back, I suspect that I would have had a pretty good career run if I had stayed on as I was E-6 and had the promise of a recommendation for the warrant officer program if I were to re-up and ride the boat through a yard overhaul. But since nothing in life comes with guarantees and submarine duty in the cold war was a career that one knew he would be away from home far more than I considered to be in the best interest of my family, I left the Navy and never looked back. I really blew it when I didn't find a submarine reserve unit to join and finish out my 20, but.......................... Who can tell a 26 year old, PO1 with dolphins anything? Who would believe that I was ever going to be 65 years old to gain the benefits from doing those last 12 years?............. ;)

None the less, I did like my time in service consider it the best of any of the things that I did as part of my career, but I just valued my time with my sons more. I look back with a lot of nostalgia and sometimes wonder what might have been, but not with regret as seeing what my sons have become and remembering the part that I played in that growth surpass any regrets from what I didn't get to do. In life, we can't have everything as it is just one long series of choices. Some of my best memories will always be from my time in uniform, but the uniform I wore as Scout Master was more important to the family than was my time in a Navy uniform, so I don't regret the choice since it would not have been possible to have had both experiences at the same time.

Even so, the best part of my working life, the most important part of my career, and the part which probably was most important to society was and will remain my time serving on US Navy submarines. That remains one of my proudest achievements, but just behind the awarding on Eagle Scout to my third son! Sometimes one has to put the best interests of another ahead of our own. I made my choice just as Sr. Chief Burger made his. I'll still salute the Chief, but with no regrets for having traveled another road.

Good travelin !...............Kirk
Author & Escapee's Magazine contributor
Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers again.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure
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#7 James and Tracy

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:05 AM

Very very true. I retired as a Senior Chief 10 years ago this month. Every time I go through the gate at Travis Air force base in Norcal I'm addressed as "SR Chief". I have no regrets spending 20 years of my life serving the US Navy. I was a surface guy so better known as a "target" but I enjoyed the fresh ocean air and beautiful sunsets. I always said I was glad there was enough Sub Mariner volunteers so I didn't have to do it. I to miss the accountability and a different camaraderie then you get out in the civilian world. I would do it again in a heart beat if I had the chance. But for now I will continue to enjoy that monthly check!!! Take care and I hope to see you all on the road some day.....

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#8 DJW

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 01:31 PM

I remember it was about a month after I retired from the US Army the 1st of September 1993. I had been stationed in the Washington DC area since January 1986 and in the Pentagon since March 1987. I was driving onto Ft Myer, VA on a beautiful fall afternoon. Ft Myer has always been a closed post with gate guards as it is on the back side of Arlington National Cemetery and when I stopped at the gate to show my newly issued blue ID card the SP4 on the gate handed it back to me with a "Have a good day Master Sergeant" It dawned on me at that time that for the rest of my Life I will always be a United States Army Master Sergeant and even to this day when ever I drive onto a Military Installation 8 out 10 guards on the gate will include some reference to me being a Master Sergeant. It might be a "How's it going today Master Sergeant or Have a good day Master Sergeant" and it always brings that warm feeling in my heart that I am home.

Dennis

USA Master Sergeant Ret.

 


#9 Walt&Connie

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 02:43 PM

I remember well and also good memories and not so good.
As a young Devil Dog (1969) (Marine Aviation Ordnance) and hoping the pond to the NAM it didn't take long to learn to stay clear of the REMPH's ( (also defined as in the rear with the gear)) when in mixed company). And if they could not be avoided then an ACE OF SPADES placed on there belongings got their attention.
As the years rolled by or dragged on and moving up the proverbial ladder and putting up with the BS depending on the peace time/war climate. But still Aviation Ordnance either fixed wing, Helo, or Station I would not trade or change a day (well maybe some more one on one attitude adjustment with the idiots above.:lol: And yes, always assigned a Private to the new LT's to keep them out of trouble B)

So after 21 1/2 years (1991) in the Nam, Peacetime, Frequent Wind (NAM Evac), Beirut bombing, peacetime, and to the 4 corners of the world, and even floated with the NAVY as ships company USS BELLEAU WOOD LHA-3 (now razor blades) (supplementing Helo OP's and introducing the HARRIERS to the Gator Navy) then finally retirement ( HO! NO! 1990 Operation Desert Storm welcome back):angry: You ain't fully retired until 30 years obligated service (combined active+inactive) and then August 1999 CERTIFICATE OF RETIREMENT MGySgt United States Marine Corps. P.S. My father same rank just different date August 1966. And also August 1951 he crossed the 180th meridian DOMAIN OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON and me June 1987 GOLDEN SHELLBACK (for you swabbies).

And Yes, going thru a military gate, or when in the PX/Commissary line and the cashier acknowledges your rank the pucker/pride kicks in and you stand a little taller. And especially proud when they give a nod to the wife (39 years) for only another present or former military wife could understand what they went thru.

Edited by Walt&Connie, 06 May 2012 - 02:49 PM.


#10 pinger

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 07:35 PM

Made a lot of men out of boys.

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#11 Cyberdave

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:56 PM

.......Some of us enjoy the freedom to make decisions that the control and mental safety the military doesnt allow.
.....Best Regards.

Paul


Paul, could you expand on this? I've been trying to think of something I could not or would not be able to do except quit..

I would also imagine that one's view point would be different depending on if you were a draftee or a volunteer not just your job.





Dave & Tish
Beagles Bagle & Snoopy
On the road somewhere.
AF retired, 70-90
A truck and a trailer

"I went through a door but forget what was on the other side. I would go through it again but I forgot which door it is."

#12 travelinfool

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:26 AM

(The thing I miss most is accountability. People knowing that regardless of the rank, there is a chain of command above them they are ultimately answerable to.)
RV, I miss that the most!
In the Civilian world if you find someone with accountabilty they are a keeper.

#13 RV

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:18 AM

Travelin',

;)

Edited by RV, 08 May 2012 - 11:20 AM.

RV/Derek
http://www.rvroadie.com Email on the bottom of my website page.
Retired AF 1971-1998

When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius