Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Military Service...What it means to me

In discussion with a friend on Facebook we began "talking" about the bonds that are formed with fellow members of the US Military. It matters not if those members belong to the same branch as you, or to another branch entirely, the bonds formed can last a lifetime. I've had my little rivalries with others who served in other branches but we understood that should the need arise we'd stand side by side and beat down whatever threat arose no matter that 30 seconds earlier we'd been going at it with sarcastic comments and such that to a typical civilian it may have appeared that we were going to come to blows. It's a shared bond forged on the anvil of military service and a mutual respect that no civilian could ever understand.

I served for a brief time in the US Coast Guard Reserve and while attending school at Yorktown Training Center in Virginia I got into a bit of a jab fest with a LCDR Navy Chaplain. He and I were tossing our little sarcastic comments back and forth and the majority of my class (I was the Class Leader btw) was looking aghast at me like I'd lost my mind. Here was a PO3 basically mouthing off to an officer. Outside of one other classmate who had served in the Navy none of them had a clue what was going on. It was the mutual respect between us that allowed us to do what we were doing and not take any offense to what was being said. After the class the Chaplain and I sat down to coffee and discussed many things with no hard feelings between us. My classmates on the other hand all gave me an earful at the end of the day and I had to make them understand what happened was in no way disrespectful to the LCDR or myself but rather a meeting of 2 Lions on the open plain and each one respecting the other enough to say you are my equal. My Chief also gave me an earful but perhaps not nearly as severe an ass chewing as I would have gotten had he not understood this bond as much as the LCDR and I did. I honestly believe that had I been just another Coastie in the class, or had it been one of my Non Prior Service Classmates, the ass chewing would have lasted a lot longer and been a lot more severe.

Civilians, and as my friend would say some spouses as well, do not fully grasp this concept of the bond between the US Military branches. It is a bond that eclipses the typical family/friendship bonds. It is a bond that regular people would find way more intense then those most people would know. We'll fight, cuss, kick, and pound the holy hell out of each other when we are at peace but when the call to battle is heard we will stand shoulder to shoulder and beat the living crap out of whatever threat arises and god help anyone who would attack my military brothers or sisters for they will feel the holy wrath of the US Military. It is a bond forged on the anvil of time and service and one passed down from the generations before us. It is a bond that a regular civilian will probably never understand.