Words on why we do what we do....

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Bullet, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. Bullet

    Bullet 5-Year Member

    Jan 9, 2008
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    Some background: one of my office mates, here in the Puzzle Palace less than a year, just recently left to start a 365 to the lovely confines of Baghdad. Leaving behind his wife and children (including a 2-month old), he kissed his family good-bye, climbed into a DC-10 with a bunch of other folks dressed in desert cammies, and answered his Nation's Call to head to the Middle East (as has been going on for over 20 years now).

    He's writing to us every once in a while, providing his thougths on the experience. Here's his latest (and from his words, I'm pretty sure you will also see his a pretty bright individual, and one heck of a guy!).



    DC-10 Over the Atlantic Ocean
    12-13 July, 2010

    What exactly makes someone graciously accept getting on an airplane to spend a year or more apart from their family in a dangerous, inhospitable place where a lot of people don’t like you? With our current ops tempo, it is easy to bypass this question as “routine” or “just how we do business”. This is unfortunate, because when you stop to think about it, the answer provides an exceptional insight into the character of the men and women in our military.

    For me personally, I was surprised by how difficult this departure was. Maybe it was that my kids are old enough to react to this deployment for the first time, or perhaps that I was non-volunteered for this one, or maybe a PCS move added to the mix, or some combination of all of the above. I still don’t know, but I am certain that it did not feel good – to be precise, the entire anticipation and preparation phase was miserable. But on the positive side, it did make me sit down and think about why tens of thousands of us do it every year.

    To begin, it is difficult for most Airmen to complain about ops tempo compared to our brethren who make their living on the ground. Their dwell has varied from one year deployed, one year home or worse for almost a decade. It is far from uncommon to talk to our counterparts and learn they are on their 3rd, 4th, or 5th trip. However, there is a fundamental difference between AF/Army modes of operation that is worth mentioning. Throughout the written & oral history of combat, the idea of brotherhood is a consistent thread. The motivation to do your job right the first time for the next guy over in your formation or in the next foxhole is very powerful. Unfortunately, the majority of Airmen deployed do not train with or even know who they will be working and fighting with before they arrive (although this is not always the case). A JET tasking sends an individual thousands of miles separated from their unit and puts them on an island. The Army deploys as a unit en masse and thus is able to keep the “brothers in arms” concept alive and well better than we can.

    However, regardless of service there is no question that the personal sacrifice is great – so why do we do it? The obvious starting point is simply because we have to. I didn’t have any choice when this one came down the pipe. When someone orders us to jump, on some level we ask how high. However, this reasoning is less than paper thin. The U.S. military is an all volunteer force, so regardless of whether you volunteered for a specific deployment or not we all had a choice.

    Fundamentally, we do it because it needs doing. Personal sacrifice for the greater good is a bedrock of what makes someone an American, whether you are in the military or not. This is a continuation of the end of document written in 1776, “…for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor”. Sitting in Baghdad, I am just a small link in the chain stretching through time that ensured the existence of the country of Kuwait, saved hundreds of thousands from genocide in Yogoslavia, kept freedom alive on the Korean peninsula, subdued Hitler in Europe, kept numerous nations functioning in Central America, ended World War I, kept a fledgling nation from tearing itself apart, and finally to the Continental Army that provided the initial sacrifice allowing the rest of the story to happen.

    So why do we do it? Because words like this mean something to us: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…” We believe that someone should be there to help those who need it, to ensure the oppressed have the opportunity to these rights. Your average investment banker in New York or Professor at Cal Berkley might not get it, but that doesn’t matter. Honor and integrity and merely building blocks that are a requirement for truly, whole-heartedly believing in something greater than yourself. It is easy to lose sight of this because some time it isn’t any fun at all. However, occasionally we all need a small reminder of what it means to belong to the organization charged with supporting and defending our country. I started this trip with a lack of enthusiasm about what I’m going to do, but after a bit of reflection it seems easier now…. more to follow.


    Well said, my friend. Here's a toast to you, Mooch. We'll catch you back home in 340 days (-ish).

    I'll keep passing more of his wisdom as we hear from him...

  2. AF6872

    AF6872 10-Year Member

    Mar 4, 2007
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    Great Post. Keep us advised.
  3. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar 5-Year Member

    Jan 27, 2010
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    Words on why we.....

    Beautiful, just beautiful.

    Tell him God Bless and God Speed, tell him to stay safe

  4. Maximus

    Maximus 5-Year Member

    Jun 19, 2008
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    Not only bright but he sounds like a great guy, thanks Bullet.
    Godspeed to him.

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