Sunday, March 02, 2008

Reminder of what soldiering's about, even in Civil Affairs

The big picture concept of Civil Affairs attracts me and I relish its operational, tactical, and strategic value. I believe it to be a cornerstone entity in a critical evolution for civil-military operations. However, as excited as I am about Civil Affairs and hope to become a Civil Affairs Specialist (MOS 38B), I also have to remind myself what it means to be any lower-enlisted soldier - the thoroughly unromantic and stressful toil, sweat, and hard work. There are reasons I didn't re-enlist the first time. If I wanted to be a soldier for the sake of being a soldier, I could have stayed a soldier in 2001; heck, as an E-4 promotable in a Star MOS, I would have quickly made my '5' had I re-enlisted. I did my time as a "worker bee" (to quote my last Battalion Commander) and I left the Army in order to pursue a different life. More, that's how I felt in peace-time; frankly, the idea of going to war scares the heck out of me. I'm not 20 years old anymore, either, with years to wander. Re-enlisting wouldn't be a one-off to get it out of my system. I'd be making a multi-year commitment likely involving multiple deployments that would sharply reduce my ability to do anything else.

The thing is, while I don't want to be a soldier again, I do want to do my part - and earn my honor - in the Long War and I want to participate in peace operations, preferably in the civil-military area. So, I have to weigh honor and my belief in civil-military peace ops versus my reluctance to return to lower-enlisted soldiering; 2 out of 3 says, 'not perfect, but you do the best you can with what you have to work with'. 3 out of 4, if you add the fact that I'm not moving forward in my life otherwise, and a part of me has already decided that an honest attempt to become a 38B is the next thing for me to do.

If I join Civil Affairs, I would like to be a member of the locally based 353rd Civil Affairs, whose headquarters is in Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island. This Fort McCoy Triad article about the 353rd's pre-deployment training last summer is a stark reminder of what I'd be getting myself into if I re-enlisted: 353rd Civil Affairs conducts premobilization training by Rob Schuette, August 24, 2007.

Soldiers from the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion are about to engage enemy targets during a convoy live-fire exercise. Col. Mark Calabrese, 353rd Civil Affairs Command, is observing from the turret. (Photo by Lt. Col. Robert Bensburg)

It would be going back to a place in my life I thought I'd left forever 7 years ago, and this time, far more than my first time, I'd be getting myself into some serious, serious shit.




Anonymous Dr. Mercury said...

Off-topic (didn't see an email address):

You said something rather sad in TigerHawk's blog this morning, and I decided to elaborate on it. I figured you might not be reading that particular comment thread ("McCainicrats") again, hence my calling your attention to it.

3/06/2008 12:14 PM  

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