Monday, September 15, 2008

Fresh Meat

There's something about new guys that I like. I don't call them FNGs or cherries or any of that shit. I think it's that they aren't yet corrupted or jaded. They're like toddlers, innocent and impressionable and all that Hallmark happy horseshit.

The only serious thing I said to our new guy was, "Don't model yourself after us. We're getting out. We did our thing and now we're counting down months. They tell you to be in the right place at the right time, in the right uniform. Believe it." I couldn't think of much to elaborate on after that, and we had enough busywork to do that it didn't matter anyway.

I don't want to be responsible for someone else coming to hate the Army. Already seen one new guy go from total motivation, wanted to do it all, get that Ranger tab, and slowly become a reflection of the rest of us til the day I heard him say, "Fuck the Army man, I'm getting out."

"Dude you have like four or five years left."

I really thought that I would love the Army for the most part, but every step of the way, something was there to stomp all the hope out of it for me. Crushed it to death and left it to the point where I've had to come to terms with the Army without outright hating it. And I don't.

Someone asked this new guy, "Why'd you join the Army?"

He said, "To be an Airborne Ranger."

Congrats, dude. You're in a Stryker Brigade. You won't go to a Ranger unit, not in this life cycle. All you can do is hang on to that New Private Smell for as long as you can. Stay hungry. Don't model yourself after us.

Maybe I just want to believe that there really are people that love being in the Army, that don't just get stuck and end up as lifers. Maybe that's what I need to see for myself.

"How long did you sign up for?"

"Three years."

"Smart man. Thinking about staying in?"

"Not sure yet. I might make it a career."

Rewind the clock a few years and that was us. And thus begins the battle for this kid's soul.

Don't be like us.


BigD said...

Hey Suspect,
Well I guess the you are like a big brother to those precious & impressionable toddlers. They look up to you for advice and guidance. Let them enjoy their Hallmark happy horseshit, it won't be long before they join the ranks of the disillusioned.

It makes me sad to think of the loss of innocence that comes with a job in the infantry during war time. I think the Army is like most jobs...there is a mix of good times and bad. However, when there is a war involved even the most resilient toddlers must grow up fast as they are thrust into a world they did not even know existed.

I think it is wise to let them discover for themselves what the Army is all about. If they come to you for advice, be honest and have a care for that soul you know is so important. What can you teach them from your experience that may keep them pushing forward when they don't think they can anymore? You have so much to offer, don't be afraid to open your heart to those who need you most.

"Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” ~Buddha

God(s) bless you Ryan.

Airborne dad said...

Amen, Suspect. Amen.

Anonymous said...

The relationship young guys have with the military sounds like a impulsive marriage. The friends and relatives are proud and enthusiastic that they have 'become men'... Seems exciting at first, very hot! Divorce is not an option, but nobody believes they will be the one who needs a on!

Anonymous said...

Life unfolds. You never know how you will influence the life of someone else. Sometimes, it's a huge, life altering event that makes us think in a different way, but more often than not, it is a simple sentence spoken by someone passing through our lives, spoken at a precise moment when we are receptive to it, that changes everything. For the good, or for the bad. We are all roll models.

You know who... =->

rita said...

my husband is "fresh meat" out on his 1st deployment and I guess everyone started at E-1, and went through all that being PVT shit.. funny he wants to go to ranger sch and all that and at the same time he's counting down the months left on his contract..guess some of them dont follow and look for role models in the army, but then again my husband never was a follower, there are others who look for inspiration and guidance, and the ones who joined because they spent hours playing call of duty and thought they were entering a game. I reckon those are the guys who need a lot of inspiring once they see what the army is all about as a PVT!
god bless..

Anonymous said...

I'm reading a book - Armageddon Rag, by George R. R. Martin - and he "quotes" a song's lyrics that made me think of you and your blog. (He invented the group and the song, hence the quotation marks.)

Well, he came back from the war zone all intact
And they told him just how lucky he had been

But the survivor has a different kind of scar
Stillborn dreams and no more hope
Hooked on booze or hooked on dope
The survivor has a different kind of scar
Yeah, the survivor has a different kind of scar

I kinda wish it was a real song, I'd like to hear the rest.