View Full Version : Reflections on Military Service

07-11-11, 05:49 PM

This article sums it up quite well.

(Thanks to Col. Robert Whitener, USMC, ret., & OHS '58 for sharing

Occasionally, I venture back to one or another military post , 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, Sir!"

Every time I go back to any Military 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 uniforms, 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 senior 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

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.

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

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07-12-11, 05:37 AM
Must have never met ackped?

07-14-11, 06:35 AM
This was a good post by MOS 4429. It hit the nail on the head!

Tennessee Top
07-14-11, 06:48 AM
Sure is in sharp contrast to some of the haters we've seen on here recently. They would just claim the colonel is brainwashed.

07-14-11, 10:26 AM
:evilgrin: Love it Semper Fi that,but it's called a Cover not a Hat :beer: :iwo:

07-14-11, 11:35 AM
:evilgrin: Love it Semper Fi that,but it's called a Cover not a Hat

Yeah, I caught that, too, made me a bit suspicious. Would a retired colonel call a cover a hat? Hmmm, maybe been a civilian too long! ;)

07-17-11, 04:50 PM
:evilgrin: Yeah went down too LID'S,yesterday and was looking for a new Az.Diamond Back's Baseball Hat.The lovely young College Hottie,looked perlexed when She asked can I help You Sir? I goes yes I'm looking for a new D-Back COVER!!!Then I explained why I called it that, She thanked Me for My Service and gave Me a 10% discount.S/F :iwo: