Slipping by

And there went a week.

I am now halfway through my time away from Fort Hood, trying to soak in the below-100-degree temperatures before heading to the steamy Texan summer, and then to the broiling Iraq wastes.

There were a couple things I wanted to knock out while up here. The first was to eat in those few favorite spots of mine, since my patronage will probably be a bit sparse over the next several months.

And second, I was hoping to hash out some of this whole, “Where should life go from here,” problem.

I joined the Army on a bit of a whim, and have struggled to find where I should fit in while in service. I’ve mucked around for almost a year now on whether to pursue a commission as an Army or perhaps an Air Force officer.

Getting that brass bar would give a good boost to the ol’ bank account, but now that I’ve seen how life is for officers, I’m shifting more and more toward remaining where I am. I think I’ll just do my time and scat, if I’m not extended, that is.

As a journalist, I constantly have to operate in the butt-kissing realm, writing stories that will please the command rather than relevant news. Officers have to operate exclusively in that world, lest they be robbed of that next promotion.

Performance on the field of battle used to be measured in acts of valor, bravery, cunning, ingenuity, and tenacity in the face of a determined and ruthless enemy. But in this war, there is no uniformed enemy, no great nation to outmaneuver, no hills to climb, no flanks to assault.

That means it’s hard for ambitious young leaders to snatch glory from the jaws of ferocious war, leaving them to court it instead through paperwork, memos, powerpoint presentations, and proposed cargo load plans.

Moreover, there is still the cult-worship of dead generals. I can’t tell you how many copies of “The Art of War” or some commentary on Patton I see on desks of would-be four stars.

Not that this is new, but seems strangely placed when Sun Tzu’s methods of cutting down foes with arrow and sword are applied to how a personnel clerk can cut down paperwork with copier and fax.

All that to say no one ever seems to be commanding, and only chase after shadows of old glory, all won in the past, through grisly means closed off to the information-age military.

So that leaves me with the resolve to remain in enlisted service for my allotted time. Now, I will have to choose a course of action for my time afterwards, assuming everything goes hunky-dory while in Iraq.


About salemonz

Born in San Diego, Calif. Raised as a Navy Brat, I jumped ship and crossed over to the Army. Served as an enlisted journalist for a bunch of years, then helped the DoD figure out what the hell to do with social media. After the Army, now I drift down the river of life, trying not to be a jerk.

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