|Jun 23, 2001, 05:13 AM|
Some of you may have gathered that I'm a bit of a leftie, with little interest in firearms. However.....
Yesterday Mrs. H and me made the 400 mile round trip to Catterick in N. Yorkshire to witness my stepson (Richard, 20) 'passing out', having completed his 6 months of Infantry Training since joining the Army.
On leaving school at 16, he'd worked for a local firm in a manual job. After 3 years of that he made the decision to utilise his interest in fitness, by joining up.
I have to say that the man he has now become is very different to the gobby brat who enlisted such a short time ago! Self-assured, controlled & integrated; he's become a much more personable individual all round.
We made history last night, when the 3 of us went to the local pub and had a beer together. Pat has some very real concerns over his future safety, but agrees that it's his life to do with as he chooses now.
Just thought I'd share this.
|Jun 23, 2001, 11:33 AM|
Regardless of one's like or dislike of the military and its training methods it's hard to argue that it makes men out of boys (and women out of girls). I'm retired from the Army and was a wild idiot of a kid when I went in. A year of basic and flight school went against almost everything I did. Then I was suddenly a "new person". I still had a lot of growing up to do, but I learned more about getting along in this world during that year than any other experience including college.
Oh yeah, I'm pro military :-)
|Jun 25, 2001, 08:56 AM|
United States, VA, Arlington
Joined Dec 1996
Second Greg's thoughts wholeheartedly.
I joined the RAF primarily to get out of a dead end job and town. It took me about six months to realise that I had made a good decision for many other reasons I'd never even thought of.
petn7 - the military doesn't change people really. What it does is put them into a process where how far they go is down to their desire to "make it". If I'd stayed home, would probably still be welding copper pipes at the chemical factory outside of Hull, Yorkshire, using the same skills I learned in my first couple of working years. Heck, I may have made 'Foreman' if I'd stuck in the one company.
Instead, I roamed all over the United Kingdom, visited a long list of countries and did things I never knew existed before I signed up. 99% of them, I would still never have heard about, had I stayed home.
Funnily enough, on one trip I met this American lady who worked with the US navy a fair amount. I really had to work hard to convince her I was "military". She still reckons I am one of the most un-"military" people she's ever met, and we've been married nearly 14 years.
I met Sue on an RAF trip - "TDY" to the in-crowd - to Florida in 1987. We got married in December that year and still act like newly weds in public Not typical, but I'd have missed out on that as well, if I hadn't walked into that recruiting office in 1970.
The military still has a lot going for it. Tim, I wish your lad well and hope he has the common to realise his true potential and worth.
PS - if necessary - tell him that the social life is much better in the Sergeants' or Officers' Messes, might push him to make it all really worthwhile.
|Jun 25, 2001, 11:00 AM|
Had a similar experience to you 3 weeks ago.
Drove to Grafenwöhr which is on the German/Czech border with my (English) daughter to see her (American) husband who is in the US Army get promoted.
For a 'rightie with little interest in firearms' it was a most interesting and pleasurable experience for me too.
|Jun 25, 2001, 04:05 PM|
When I was in the 9th grade I was causing all kinds of trouble. My father finally said, either I join the school's JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) or I transfer to another school. So I joined up. And while some may think it a joke I did turn things around, got in shape (physically and mentally), graduated with a 3.8 and was cadet commander my Junior and Senior year. Military bearing and discipline was what my dad wanted me to learn. I had a ton of fun, learned what true comradship and team work was about, earned my glider wings and did things my 'civilian' classmates all drooled over. Me and fellow cadet went to the 10th grade winter ball in our Class A ... I think I got my picture taken with every single Sophmore girl there I guess in a nut shell, it was like the boy scouts, but with drill instruction, spiffier uniforms and way cooler toys.
Not saying that every young boy should participate, but I think every young boy would learn something positive out of it.
In the end I didn't turn into some rabid militant, but I did learn respect for authority, personal responsibility, leadership and the absolute beauty of what teamwork can do.
|Jun 27, 2001, 05:59 PM|
Similar story. My cousin failed out of college in the first semester. He was a totally without direction, discipline or a real clue about life. He was bigoted, ornery, quick to a fight and really kind of a loser.
Though I figured it was a youthful, honest series of mistakes-most of the older generation in the family (parents, grandparents) were up in arms. So he joined the Army, figuring they couldn't be as bad as his parents and our grandmother (whole other story).
I thought he was pretty much insane to do so as I was really enjoying sophmore year at college. I figured-do some school work, work twenty hours a week making pizza, get involved in the campus TV station, a Fraternity, flag football, graduate in a few years and go on to make loads of money and generally be fabulous (we'll talk about that later). Who could ask for more...no drill sargeants or biological weapons, no wars, etc.
So he does well in basic, pursues Military Police training, goes to Ft. Hamilton in the Bronx for his first tour. A really good experience for a kid raised even more in the sticks of Ohio than I was. He goes to Korea and Germany and Ft. Bragg. He gets chosen to guard Special Forces stuff and Raven Mountain and all kinds of heavy, very cool stuff. Travels all over, meets many different types of people, makes good friendships, learns how to learn.
He was in for five years at which point he became a History major at Ohio State. He actually had a good amount of money on the GI Bill, so he was getting paid by the Army to go to college. He recently graduated with honors and was invited to a number of good grad schools to pursue a History Masters, PhD, etc.
He decided otherwise and will be moving to Alaska on June 20th to work for (I can't remember the name) a charitable organization which has youth workers support community projects and such. He's going to be an adult educator, teaching people how to read.
The whole family is tickled pink, he seems happy with himself and his choices and is contributing to a better world. He's now a very worldly and knowledgable, good, strong person, very open-minded and a great conversationalist. Gone are the days of rage and laze and the determined ignorance.
The two of us spent alot of time together over Christmas this last year and the change in this guy over the last 8 years is stunning.
So we've moved as a family from worrying about what kids becoming adults (myself, my sister, he and his bother) will do and have moved on to worrying about the health and well-being of our parents and grandparents. Funny how the cycles go.
Ummmmm....Go Army. Life is wacky.
|Jun 28, 2001, 02:35 AM|
Violence never really solves a problem, especially on a large scale. At best it postpones one or more parties' ability to continue arguing/warring while deepening distrust, aggression and desperation.
|Jun 28, 2001, 05:06 PM|
Joined May 2000
OK, then you can pay the $328.9 Billion Pentagon budget.
That is an outrageous sum.
Allof your pro military rhetoric does not go far enough to justify such an amount. Where we are headed is back to the days of the Reagun era, where military supply companies wore big grins along with other corporate fat cats.
Yes, a military is needed, not a subsidy for friends of the Bush clan.
It, that bloated budget, is out of proportion to the needs of the country..and I am not talking any socialism. Start with roads and bridges, sick rivers, loggers out of work, developing alternatives to reliance on oil, and that is just a start.
And as far as you comment about the need to be in Vietnam...that was a dead wrong war, let's not drag that sick subject out again.
|Jun 28, 2001, 06:16 PM|
I would rather spend the money on military preparedness than on failed social programs that do nothing but turn citizens into dolists who simply are looking for big brother government to give them a hand out.
In the past 8 years our men and women have been posted to more "peace keeping" missions than ever before by a President who could have cared less about their equipment, training and moral. I don't recall any liberals protesting in the streets then. Of course not .... because we were being humanitarian .... but now we have a conservative in office and all of a sudden those deployments are the draconian arm of a facist ruler. Go fig...
True ... the military should never be the first or even second option to international problems ... but when diplomacy breaks down .... you had better hope our men and women who are on the pointy end of the spear are well train, equiped and highly motivated.
Personally I am for taking ALL of our people out of other countries ... let them defend themselves. But I also want our boys and girls to have the best weapons money can buy, and yes, I want other countries to be scared silly about going toe to toe with us. Like, Teddy said .... "Walk softly but carry a big stick" and I want my stick to say "Whoop Ass" on it.