Soldiers to missions, just another day
Wow, two posts in two days. I can’t believe it. Today, I’m told I have a mission far, far away to go cover. The typical story: Soldiers work hard to provide security for the Iraqi people. I’ve been doing this so long now, it seems that I can just fill in the blank here and there and the story is done. Of course, I try to give it a special ring to it that will garner attention. What else happened today? Well, I had a soldier come crying to me… saying they can’t handle it anymore. Of course, I have an unbelievable amount of passion for my soldiers and hate seeing them like this. I sent her to a combat stress specialist who listened to her and provided professional advice. No matter what job you do in the army living every day in a combat zone is incredibly stressful and I don’t know if words can ever fully put it into perspective to those who haven’t been there done that. I do everything I can to make sure the soldiers aren’t too strapped and that they are enjoying, with all things considered, life. Of course, I’m the reason for a few tears too. Once, I made a soldier cry because she didn’t know a certain unit’s designation. At the time, we had been here for 8 months and she didn’t know the name of the unit we’d been covering. Honestly, that’s all I said; I guess my tone was just mean. I made another soldier cry when I scolded her for being disrespectful to an NCO. In the army, if leaders aren’t stern and decisive, the soldiers will take advantage of the “nice guys.” A bad attitude, or disrespect, can lead to the mission not being accomplished. The mission not being accomplished can lead to the battle being lost. I think you get the point. Anyway, sergeants like me are there to make sure soldiers don’t get out of line and execute, execute and execute again. We keep them motivated, frustrated and smiling all at the same time. Of course, we must lead by example too. That’s why I choose to go on the more dangerous missions and try to stay in tip top shape… albeit I’ve put on 20 pounds since coming to Iraq (my marathon physique looks normal now). And when the soldiers have hit bottom, I try to pull them out of the water. In other words, that’s why I’m going on another fill-in-the-blank story… so my Joes can have a break.