The recent events in Iraq are a pretty big topic, especially to those of us who serve in the military. The thought of possibly going back into combat when our nation has been trying to pull out of it for years now is not just a tiring thought, but a scary one for those who have family and loved ones in the service.
I just turned 21. Graduating out of high school, I was more or less set up to succeed and I almost blew that by going in and out of school. The one constant that has remained in my life has been my military service. This October will mark four years that I have been enlisted, and while it has been time served with the National Guard, it is still time served. I could have easily not gone the military route and focused on making the big bucks. However, I did not join the Army for money.
I joined to serve my nation and protect its people. Being in the Guard, I got to serve my state and its people twice now: once during the Waldo Canyon fire and the second time during the northern Colorado floods. Both times I got a chance to see what being in the service meant to regular civilians. If anything it made me more proud than I already was to have the privilege of wearing a uniform.
If I have any regrets about my time in the service, it is that I did not get a chance to deploy. That may sound shocking, crazy, ridiculous, but it is the truth. I enlisted at a time where I knew it was very likely I would get sent into the fight, and I enlisted as an infantryman so that likelihood was much higher.
I’ve heard war stories from my NCOs, just about all of whom have gone overseas. Some twice. I’ve heard the lighter stories that they probably tell to civilian friends that maybe can’t handle the darker ones. And I’ve heard some darker ones too. I can’t say that I completely know the ugly side of deployment but I have an idea at least from what I’ve been told.
So if we do end up going back into Iraq, I would volunteer in a heartbeat with any unit that was going. Something I’ve learned in the last four years is that signing up to get a job done, and the job being over before you get the chance really takes a toll on you. I have an itch that only this can scratch, and I know I’m not the only one.