Interesting Stories and Articles
The title says it all Why ask for anything more.
How it All a Begin…..
I am became a good a U.S. Soldier to fulfill part of my American Dream to serve my country and become a troop. I chose the U.S. Army to become an American Soldier because because of he enlistment incentives such as, $20,000 bonuses, jobs skills through training, payed tuition, G.I. Bill(s), and various Veteran Affair medical benefits.
Coming to Circumstances
Coming from poor ghetto communities it was not very hard to decide of course. Stay at where you are an only make minimum wages, and struggle each and everyday for may days. Working as hard as possible is not what you want to do, especially if you have very little money to make by the time the end of day is through. I said why not join the U.S. Army heck my A.S.V.A.B. score was high enough to join this branch vs getting a hire score to join the Navy. Staying in a dangerous ghetto or joining the military, what would be more easier? The answer for me at that time join the military and gather myself mentally upon waiting to be sworn in.
Preparing For BCT, AIT & Transitioning Into a Soldier
The few weeks gather and regrouping my thoughts and preparing for 6 months until I get sent to basic training. The getting sworn in part was easy preparing for basic was not. This would be the first time leaving my family for 5 months total 9 weeks of basic training, plus the 2 months and a few weeks for my military job training school to get MOS qualified. I focused and went through the stress to parts training, I joined in 2006, here we still had drill sergeants at AIT which is not common presently. Now a days they have trained platoon sergeants who are in control of these army soldiers.
Once I graduated AIT, I did up to 3 contacts with all 3 components of the U.S. Army. This was not very easy process. Every time I signed a contract I was more scared every time. When I sign a contract I never know what might happen that is why. When you are working hard at being successful at being a soldier it is very stressful.
Attention to Detail
Everything has to be perfect! When I say everything I mean: your combat uniform, your dress uniform (Class A's Dress Blues), PT Uniform, wear of of uniforms and unit/individual awards. Sometimes you get yelled or pressured to make sure troops underneath you are successful as well. Even shooting at the shooting range, running, push ups, and sometimes aspects of your personal life is heavily scrutinized. These can make your life stressful if you are sub-par in even one of these areas.
Hanging on By Fingernails
My own mental health started to drastically decline due to mal-treatment, and lac of sympathy for general needs. The NCOs put in charge of me were almost like bullies, the only time that they were there is when I was on suicide watch. That means anyone from a E-4 and above were to watch me to make sure that I do not commit suicide. I was on unit watch twice while being in the active US Army within that three year contract. Constantly feeling that I was never good enough, I could never try harder to make anything happen, it was very over baring and burdensome. There was even the insults, feeling constantly scare that I would get less than honorable discharge, and leadership trying to get me kicked out, which added fuel to the fire.
The Bull Shit Begins
I used to be insulted constantly, and be persecuted. I was persecuted because of my strong Christian ideals, and devotion, my nice care free attitude. The average person at my unit thought of my attitude as : I don't give a shit about anything, and I don't take soldiering seriously, that is not it. I loved being a soldier and I took being a troop very seriously obviously. If I did not take being a troop seriously I would have succumbed to UCMJ (Uniformed Code of Military Justice) action and been in court with jag offices on a Colonel’s red carpet. They try to write negative counseling statements about me judging everything I did that was just a little bit wrong, I could be just a missed shave every once in a while, a not so perfect PT uniform. I was even yelled at for having a dirty uniform after shooting and crawling around in the dirt for hours. I had a close appointment and did not have to time to change it! I can't be late for an appointment I would be pressured, yelled and get a negative counseling statement from one of my higher ups, in the command chain. The same E-5(Sergeant) told me once that a half filled cup was his 4 year old daughter, and I had to stay in the front leaning rest position for a long time, he even drew a crude depiction of his daughter on the cup, which was half filled with water. This is some disgusting stuff even for me, I was starting to see why so many of our soldiers a the unit I was at were not stop alcoholics even during the 5 day work week! This same NCO even got the Captain (company commander) to agree that I should be eventually kicked out if I was a hindrance. This same E-5 in charge of me had a history of abuse outburst, and rational deterrent behaviors which is not good for the military but, the chain of command over looked that.
I remember this absolutely evil and crazy staff sergeant that was in charge of me. I even remember on a day off she made me change my pants because it had only one cannabis leaf on my upper left or right buttocks pocket. My shirt even covered that part of the dark denim, which no one could see nor ask about but, she forced me to change my pants into something else. I felt scared to even breathe around this female staff sergeant. No matter what I did it was never good enough to satisfy anything they asked of me. Needless to say we had suicide attempts, a suicide, and multiple discharges and AWOLs while I was serving for two years with this active US army unit. I even remember two 3 times I freaked out and started crying while they were in charge. I even remember almost flinching at this E-5 and E-6 with my shoulders cocked back. I had a talk with my First Sergeant (E-8), that was in charge at the company level. I told him about the disgusting and violating acts that was done to me, and how I never got any mental closure, and comfort. I could never got the SSG that was in charge for anything, and the counter part E-5 that was by her side either. He temporary relieved her of duties and gave her a few days off without any consequences, and told the E-5 to politely tone down his aggressive and compulsive nature. They were both doing their jobs but there is not need to be a bully or an ass hole when it comes to these types of requirements, Discipline is discipline, and you can not change the hardcore duties and discipline of being a soldier fine but being be-little and for little to no reason, and taking your personal problems our on your fellow troops and sub subordinates is never tolerated. The unit leaders at the HHC(company), and Battalion level stopped sending me on every single combat exercises and decided to send the others which never went, thank God!
From all the mental abuse and unreasonable punishments, sometimes for no reason I had to endure I have psychological problems until this day. I am medically retired from the US military, and I'm so mentally damaged I can not even work at a normal regular job without freaking out and having traumatic episodes. I do not control when I have these. I also am plagued by nightmares each and every night. This is the sucky part of course. I still lived serving my country, the leadership in the active component was by far the worst ever. Even worst, was that it is better to be in a forward deployed environment than to be a regular run of the mill unit. When your life is in danger, you think a lot differently and these troops all have loaded weapons, you want them to be on your side in a fire fight of course.
The Freedom to Serve and The Joy it Brought
It is a blessing that I still held on to my dreams even when odds where against. I wrote this as a way to tell those of you fighting for your dreams to hold on to them. Especially if you are like me and you are good at your dreams and passions in life. I loved being a soldier, I served eight years, and don't regret a drop of it. I got to see what truly horrible people are like so that, I do not become what I am disgusted with. I was a warrior, I was a member of a team, I was honorable, noble and honest soldier. I was a solder.