This week just about exhausted me in every way possible from the terror I faced it seemed like each day to dealing with military political non-sense. One thing I have learned here in the military is that the job you do really can't be taught it has to be assumed to learn as you go. Each situation calls for a differnet approach to resolving the issue that will eventually build continuity in the boots you wear. The frustrating part is that the time needed to learn and become competent in my job field is non existant in a combat zone. I realize that the US Army might tell you what to do, but they're not always going to tell you how to do it. I felt like I needed to take a step back and look at the situation from far away to see what was really wrong with the picture. After seeing the whole thing I taught myself a few things:
1. There was so much that I had learned already, I just had to be more confident in the skills I already possesed.
2. Just when you think you have prepared yourself, tell yourself that there is always one more thing you can do to better your work.
3. Take a step back to let the picture develop before you go painting a birmingham. You learn so much more from the shadows than you do waving a flashlight.
4. NCOs are truly the subject matter experts that build officers to become the subject matter experts in title.
5. The military truly is a business and you have to learn to work with everyone regardless of whatever personal opinions you may hold of them.
6. Fianlly, pick your battles wisely. Engage when you have a killshot in the crosshairs rather than ripping off a belt of rounds that only wastes your ammo and makes you that much more ineffective. (Metaphor)
For as much as this week was a tough pill to swallow, I developed a lot more as a leader and have witnessed how much more of veteran I am becoming. This job is just like any other job you'll find in the real world. You make some of your best friends that will take the round or pull you to cover when you're under fire. You'll also make some of your worst enemies that will put a K-Bar in your back if it means they gain some kind of accolade or advance by throwing you under the wheels of the bus. Either way its reality and you have to adjust to each situation because each one will always be unique and require you to accomplish a differnet task.
This week had a lot of ups and downs, but I made it through just fine because I took the time to adjust fire so I can continue to help the team succeed. Even though I found myself in a moment where I thought I couldn't find cover.....I dug myself a foxhole and returned fire like a true soldier.
Some of you are reading this right now and sking yourself: "What the hell is he talking about"? What I mean is that there is always an answer to you questions and solutions to your problems. Sometimes you just have to dig deeper to find what you're really looking for as opposed to an answer that partially satisfies the question. Don't get me wrong AFG is no moonwalk and it will get you if you're not watching your six. However, don't let the thought of what you can't control let you miss out on where you can make the biggest impact.
An NCO this week told me that even though I claim he has taught me everything, I have made an impact that will last him the rest of his career. He told me that any officer who can sit down next him and learn from his guidance has a wirlpool of success waiting for him. It shows confidence in his subordinates that he can make a decision and call on his soldiers to execute.
Mom, Dad, and Mike: I'm alive and well. I really wish I could be there for the holidays. The Christmas Tree is up in my office and has brought a smile to everyones face. I love you all.
Melissa: I love you so much and there never goes a minute without me wondering what you're doing. Don't worry, in every gust of wind that blows I feel you next me. Just know that when the sun shines thats me smiling at you!! I love you truly, madly, deeply.
Family: I hope the holidays treat you well. Thanksgiving won't be the same without you but next year will have so much more meaning to giving thanks......that I'm home and all.