DO YOU HAVE MEMORIES OF MILITARY SERVICE?
My great fried Ron Jenkins, retired, sent this to me. It was written by one of his old friends and fellow Air Force Officer who became a friend for life. Ron emficised one small item not noted in this beautiful article. When you endure the
rigors of the military you find out that you make lifelong friendships along the way and enjoy drifting back in retrospection together.
Even though my service in the US Navy was one tour I agree that you never forget the military life. I enlisted at 17 and they made a man out of a boy faster than you would believe. I have often wondered what my path through life would have been without the discipline, respect and military training I received. C Brewer
“You Can Leave The Military, But It Never Really Leaves You”.
By Ken Burger, The Charleston Post and Courier
Occasionally, I venture back out to the air base where I’m greeted by an imposing security guard who looks carefully at my identification card, hands it back and says, “Have a good day, Colonel.”
Every time I go back onto Offutt Air Force Base it feels good to be called by my previous rank, but odd to be in civilian clothes, walking among the servicemen and servicewomen going about their duties as I once did, years ago.
The military, for all its flaws, is a comfort zone for anyone who has ever worn the uniform. It’s a place where you know the rules and know they are enforced; a place where everybody is busy but not too busy to take care of business. Because there exists behind the gates of every military facility an institutional understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that becomes part of your marrow and never, ever leaves you.
Personally, I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the military, and with whom you were dealing with. That’s because you could read somebody’s uniform from 20 feet away and know the score. Service personnel wear their careers on their sleeves, so to speak. When you approach each other, you can read their name tag, examine their rank and, if they are in dress uniform, read their ribbons and know where they’ve served.
I miss all those little things you take for granted when you’re in the ranks. To romanticize military service is to be far removed from its reality, because it’s very serious business, especially in times of war. But, I miss the salutes I’d throw at higher-ranking officers and the crisp returns as we crisscrossed on the flight line. I miss the smell of jet fuel hanging heavily on the night air and the sound of engines roaring down runways and disappearing into the clouds. I even miss the hurry-up-and-wait mentality that military men gripe about constantly, a masterful invention that bonded people more than they’ll ever know or admit.
I miss people taking off their hats when they enter a building, speaking directly and clearly to others and never showing disrespect for rank, race, religion or gender. Mostly I miss being a small cog in a machine so complex it constantly circumnavigates the Earth and so simple it feeds everyone on time, three times a day, on the ground, in the air or at sea. Mostly, I don’t know anyone who has served who regrets it, and doesn’t feel a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and reenter the world they left behind with their youth.
Face it, we all miss it. Whether you had one tour or a career, it shaped your life. One Nation Under God.
If you served in the military add your comments to this article. C B
Not in the USAF but in the RCAF where I spent only five years of my youth. I love that line ‘I don’t know anyone who has served who regrets it, and doesn’t feel a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and re-enter the world they left behind with their youth.’ That is me! I have not, and never will regret it! I still have friends I made in those five years, even though it was 50 years ago. I know, I don’t think I know, I know, they would even to this day have my back if I needed it. You cannot buy that loyalty! They were the best years of our life!