So now the trip has started. A trip that I think really started 11 months ago when I left my career in Information Technology for this new one where I support the warfighter. The warfighter that I can no longer support directly since I have retired from the Army, but one I can support now in what I do. I may no longer be a First Sergeant for soldiers anymore, but I can make sure that I am doing all I can to help save their lives and take lives of the enemy.
Some have asked me “why” I am going back. They have said things like “your war is over” or “what do you need to prove” or “why can’t you just stay in the US”. I am not sure of the answers I have given each time I was asked something like that, but I can tell you the short answer to all of that is because “it is my job”. If not me then whom? Just because I may no longer be a leader of troops doesn’t mean that I have to walk away from them. The military is my DNA, plain and simple. Those who know me, know that. Some may not like it, but hey…it is what it is.
The most important thing to me is what my wife and boys think, not anyone else. Does my youngest son want me to stay at home? Sure he does, but I also know he is proud of what I do and admires my service. He may not totally grasp what I do right now or why I do it, but he will.
I know this to be a fact because I have seen it happen twice already. My oldest son who at one time sat in the unit parking area on the hood of the car wearing my helmet minutes before I boarded a bus to go somewhere did what was in his heart and followed me in the Army. He served honorably as medic for six years to include a year in combat saving lives and even trying to take a few while he was at it. My military service shaped his youth and now his own experiences have made an impact on the rest of his life.
My middle son who was born in a military hospital and “grew up” as a true military brat has witnessed everything from a bad parachute jump to me rendering honors to my fallen soldiers. He has also made his own decision to join the military and is hoping to be accepted into West Point or at least get into a ROTC program at a university. Both of them did this without motivation by me or my wife, just like I made my own decision to join and come home to tell my parents when I was in high school.
My lovely wife who will be postponing the celebration of our 19th wedding anniversary until I get back has stood by my side since day one. When we got married I was in uniform so there was no doubt what she was getting into. She has been the rock for me on many occasions and she is the central pillar that holds the house up all the time, especially when I am gone.
So as long as they accept what I do then I am good with it. Again, they may not like it all the time and at times may get worried, but they accept it. They know my passion and they understand it. For everyone else….sorry you don’t get it.