Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by WAMom68, Jun 8, 2009.
Inside the mind of West Point's class of 2009:
While I appreciate their enthusiasm to serve their country, cadets; even graduating ones; are living a euphoric state of mind. Especially about war. Those who have been there; I can only remember Libya, Grenada, Panama, ... Gulf War I, .... through 1999; understand it from a direct perspective. I don't think there's too many "Active Duty" military members of ANY branch who is regretting that they might not get to go back over to the sandbox. And I doubt there are too many currently in the sandbox that is WISHING that it would last any longer than YESTERDAY. I empathize with a graduating cadet's desire to be "Part of" that which we took an oath to do. But the truth is; we always prefer peace time over war. The hardest part of being in the military is during peace time. It's trying to justify to congress why they need to keep funding the military. It's trying to remind them of the many times they made cuts in the military because they believed being there was no war, that we didn't need to remain properly staffed and armed. Of course they learn the hard way when we are needed. While I feel for the graduating class, I can't find it in myself to "Wish" the war would continue longer than needed so they can be a part of it and feel that they have accomplished what they signed up for.
I understand where you're coming from but I can relate to them. In four years this might all be over and I will be entering the army as a platoon leader in charge of 40 war veterans while I am fresh out of school. I'll certainly feel like I shouldn't be telling them what to do if that were to happen and hope I don't miss deployment as well.
Well, Unfortunately; or maybe Fortunately (Depending on how you think TODAY); with our world, there will be deployments and U.S. Military involvement for years to come. So you'll more than likely get your chance.
P.S. As a butter-bar; your first assignment will be greeted with a lot of behind the back; and sometimes in front; snickering. Whether it's peace time or war; you'll have to EARN the respect of the men and women you lead. And you don't get it because you deployed to a war zone. There's a lot of junior officers that were in the war zones that didn't gain that respect; and may never.
I know it doesn't mean you automatically earn their respect but them seeing that badge on you certainly doesn't hurt the way they see you (unless you did something stupid while there they know about). It will help at least slightly because it will show you at least went through some of what they did.
I also want it for myself. To know I took a my share of what they had to go through.
I understand both sides.
Thinking long term... wouldn't you rather have those who are eager to see combat and see war to actually go and experience it? If not, they spend years and years waiting and wanting that chance. They want something better than peace.
If they do see war right off the bat, I think it would dramatically change their career. Same with not seeing it.
I don't know... I'm just thinking out loud. Is either better? Probably not. War effects everyone differently, from what I know (which granted, is very little since I haven't ever experienced it).
Will a Captain in the United States Army perform his/her duty better in peacetime/war if they have already been in the sandbox?
Again, I have very little knowledge on the topic, since I have no military experience.
Best of luck to all graduates, wherever their paths may take them!
I would say ideally, you have a military that never HAS to see action. Obviously, reality dictates that won't happen. There is nothing better than peace.
Which is better?
I would say, best situation, having a military full of members more than willing to serve in a time of war, but not needing to.
I understand the "want to contribute" side of the equation as much as the "you never want to do this" side.
"Only The Dead Have Seen The End Of War"
Attributed to Plato but most likely Santayana. Unfortunately every generation will most likely get their chance.
I didn't post the original article to cause conflict, I thought it was an interesting take on the mind set of current SA graduates. They train for four years and feel like it is their duty to serve in a war zone. If they don't, do they see themselves as less of a soldier? I think the answer is sometimes yes. I know it is the case with my husband. He served during the cold war and got out about a year before the Gulf War. To this day he feels like he should have stayed in because it was his duty to serve during a "time of war".
I would prefer that there is no war to deploy to when my son graduates but that is unlikely. If not Iraq or Afghanistan it will be somewhere else in the world.
WAmom, your initial post wasn't political. Indexer has trolled in ALL of his posts, even starting threads as troll threads.....
WaMom68 - Thanks so much for posting this article. West Point is doing it's job. These young 2nd Lt's have spent the past 47 months getting ready for this, and West Point has spent the past 47 months getting cadets ready to serve as platoon leaders in combat.
Anyone who thinks they are entering into their commitment blindly is mistaken. These young soldiers have spent the past 4 years surrounded by Army Officers and NCO's who have served in Combat. Many of the teachers at West Point who are Army Officers have done tours in the GWOT. Some of the Army Professors have taken leave from their professorships to serve in combat. West Point is a site for a Wounded Warrior Transition Unit. Cadets who work out in the gym may find themselved working out next to a soldier who was wounded in combat.
Cadets are well aware of the sacrifices their classmates before them are making and have made - especially those who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice. The point is - graduating cadets have not spent the past 4 years with their heads in the sand.
And yet they are eager to go do what their Country asks of them. Wow.
We should be in awe.
Congress requires 80% of West Point cadets to branch combat arms. Perhaps common sense would dictate that these would be cadets at the bottom of their class, those with no other choices. Fortunately that is not the case - in some cases Cadets are signing on for extra service obligation to have the opportuntity to serve in the infantry.
The facts about an Army career is that those who put themselves in harm's way are rewarded. Promotions are pretty quick for those who are serving in combat - many young officers are making Captain in 3 years now. Careerwise - volunteering to lead soldiers into combat is now and always has been a plus.
Does this make our young officers warmongers? Not at all. Listen to MacArthur's famous valedictory speech that he made during his last formal trip to West Point in 1962. It is timeless.
This is a war of counter-insurgency. It requires peacemaking and diplomacy of our young officers as much as warfighting.
Does it indicate they are living in a "euphoric state of mind"? Nope.
They are fully aware of the commitment, obligation and duty to which they are entering. West Point has done the job of fully preparing them.
The Army doesn't choose to fight in a war, they are ordered. Being willing to follow those orders to perform their Duty with Honor for their Country is awesome.
JAM for the first time, I agree with just about everything you said. One thing I slightly differ with is, while they are not euphoric in their state of mind, I don't think anyone truely understands serving in a war, until they have, which i believe others are getting at, and certainly was the tone of a briefing I listened to at Ft. Carson recently.
JAM- WA Mom: thanks for your thoughtful posts on an interesting topic which should help folks understand the mindset of young soldiers and about to be soldiers. It's too bad that the thread keeps getting hijacked off that topic. I'm requesting that this thread stay on this topic and retain a tone of civility going forward.
Folks - much as I hate to close this down- I am doing so. It's apparent that ag ood thread on the mindset of Cadets and new Lieutenants has been completely hijacked and is now pretty much just a personal back and forth.
WAMOM- this was appropriate original post- I'm sorry that it was sent completely off in a tangent.
Folks as a result of a number of posts requesting that this thread be cleaned up and reopened I am deleting all of the off topic posts and reopening WAMom's original thread. I tried to be uniform and eliminate any that were off topic - a number of you already agreed to this- the rest: I made a command decision so that this could open up - the intent was not to offend if you had a deleted post but to allow a good thread to continue on. This is a pretty thought provoking post about the mindset of those going into the military as Junior Officers. It deserves a lot of discussion- but try and keep it on track and be respectful of each other in your posts. If you have something wildly off subject- feel free to start a new thread- but don't hijack this one.
Thanks and enjoy
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Tpg is right.
It was the same way with the folks in my class back in 1991. It doesn't make sense to those not in uniform, and too many with ulterior motives are quick to cry, "WARMONGER!", but the fact is that the folks who spend years training for action look forward to the action as a test. Whether they still feel that way after experiencing war up close and personal is another matter.
Either way, I'm just grateful we still have folks willing to do it at all.
Well; as someone who has seen it first hand and has been there; if I had to make a choice, I'd have to say that I "Hope they DON'T get a chance to take their TEST". When I joined up, I was proud to serve my country. And if I had to go to such an environment, I did so without a single complaint. And that happened more than 1 time. And if they needed volunteers, I would definitely volunteer being someone had to go. Might as well be me. But my ultimate choice would be that no one had to go. That was my desire before, during, after, and even now. And whether I was currently at the academy or at my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc... assignment; if the word came down that "The war is over"; that would be the BEST WORDS to hear.
Eager to go do what their Country asks of them is a great thing. It shows honor, character and integrity that we should all be proud of. To be disappointed because your Country doesn't need to ask you to go to war at a particular point in time is a different story. Especially if the disappointment is because you are feeling cheated.
Well; unfortunately, I don't believe that any of the cadets in the next 4 years will have to worry about not having their chance to go to a hot zone. So I guess the original article is quite pre-mature and moot.
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