What happened to the brotherhood? When did being in the military become less about a mission and band of brothers, and become a dick measuring contest to see who could make it to the top fastest?
I’m sick of seeing service members fried because an officer or senior enlisted wants to make a point. I’m sick of seeing teammates throw one another under the bus to save their own career. With over a decade of war there have been countless examples of selfless acts in combat, but why do those acts disappear when we come home?
Why aren’t we taking care of each other? Why are top officers more worried about career progression and “standards” than they are about taking care of those under them? The ones with financial issues, with kids, with PTSD, with drinking problems, with drug problems, those are the ones that need help. They’ve volunteered in a time of war to serve our country, and for that we (yes, us service members) owe them both a debt of gratitude, and a helping hand.
The real standard we need to get back to is the top officers and enlisted taking care of their men. Our greatest asset is not our budgets, our gear, or our tactics. Our greatest asset as a fighting force is our warfighter. We’ve seen the issues- suicide, dui’s, failed marriages, and kids who don’t know their fathers. The issue has been addressed, but what is the solution?
It’s this: train hard, take time off, and most of all take care of eachother. When the top brass passes down something that will push your men to the brink, push it back. When one of your good dudes gets a DUI for being .01 over the legal limit, back him up. When your junior guy tells you his wife is pissed he has worked late, cut him some slack.
Compassion is hard, being a hard ass is easy. If going to bat for your men puts you in the limelight, who cares? If you are more worried about your career and awards than you are your guys, you need a new job. Right now the top brass in most services is calling for a transition to a pre-conflict garrison military. They didn’t get to the top by being a great leader, they got to the top by being great politicians.
The call of the combat veteran is this: take care of each other.
The call is not only to men of equal rank and grade, it applies across the ranks and across the services. Have each others backs here in the states just as you should down range. When your boy’s load gets a little heavy, share some of the burden.