Todays Soldiers may seem like a new breed compared to the veterans of years gone by.
The “Truth” not much has changed.
Sure the equipment and communications are certainly better. The support and tracking, in
most cases, seems to have improved. That is until you come under heavy enemy fire or drive over an IED. Hidden explosive devices are nothing new, ambushes are nothing new, informants are nothing new.
Todays soldier has more firepower in their hands. Time and distance for backup help to arrive is still critical to the survival of a squad needing support, when under attack.
Integrating back into society after being on active duty in a war zone is not easy. There are no manuals to clear your mind of what you seen and did in the name of your country. Your family and friends have no comprehension of what war is like.
Sure everyone has seen war movies and news casts depicting the fighting. They haven’t smelled the smoke, heard the screams or tended to a fallen buddy. They haven’t been so mad they were prevented from doing their duty, as a soldier, because some bureaucrat thought rules of engagement would prevent more bloodshed and troop loss.
So cut you friends and family some slack, they are just trying to show you they care. They don’t know and will never know what you have seen, felt or done. That is a GOOD Thing! You did what you did so they would have too. You also learned some very valuable life lessons about yourself. For me it was like going
to school. I found out what I could really do. I learned that I could endure more than I thought. I learned to be more adaptable to my situation. I learned what I DIDN’T want my children to do. I learned to be thankful for our country. I didn’t learn to appreciate politicians that will say anything for a vote and then think you wouldn’t remember their two faced lie at the time of the next election.
I also learned I can count on my brothers in arms when the chips are down. I wished I could say the same for family and friends when I am in real need. Family usually steps up. Mom, Dads, Brothers and Sisters for the most part could be counted on. Friends only a handful or less were there when I needed them.
Even in war zones troops from the same units discuss the days events, the wins; losses and what went right and what went wrong!
For all the changes we think have happened, in reality not much has changed. Today the returning soldier has spent more tours (Multiple Tours of Duty) in a war zone than most soldiers other than those brave warriors that returned from World War II.
Todays Soldiers returns to a more accepting public than the Vietnam soldier returned too. Today the VA has some services that may not have been available, if they don’t try to cheat you out of your legally mandated rights. Using sleight of hand (paperwork delays) and lengthy delays based on fantom waiting periods.
Todays Soldiers need someone to talk with that truly understands and served. If you have the patience and time, volunteers to lead a local group in your community. Create a group that can be the release value of emotions. Help your brothers learn from your experiences. Sometimes all it takes is a knowing ear. Talking and understanding are not exclusive to Veterans. It sure help break the ice when you have someone who has walked in their shoes.
To all the returning soldiers we extend our deepest gratitude and offer a hardy “Welcome Home” brothers and sisters of war.
Sharing and talking is not weakness it is smart. Get yourself back into society, become productive again and enjoy your family and friends. You will never be the same because you know how the real world works. Yet at home you are the leader and protector of your own castle now.
If you can step up and help your brothers and sisters, do it. If you need help find it, ask. American Veterans are in every city and town. You can find someone that cares and is willing to listen and share.