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You Can Leave The Military, But...

Discussion in 'The Lighter Side' started by Mrs Glockrunner, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Mrs Glockrunner

    Mrs Glockrunner

    May 19, 2009
    Likes Received:
    South Carolina
    You Can Leave The Military, But It Never Really Leaves You...

    Occasionally, I venture back out to the air base where I'm greeted by an
    imposing security guard who looks carefully at my identification card,
    hands it back and says, "Have a good day, tech sergeant."

    Every time I go back onto Charleston Air Force Base it feels good to be
    called by my previous rank, but odd to be in civilian clothes, walking among
    the servicemen and servicewomen going about their duties as I once did,
    years ago.

    The military, for all its flaws, is a comfort zone for anyone who has ever worn
    the uniform. It's a place where you know the rules and know they are enforced;
    a place where everybody is busy but not too busy to take care of business.

    Because there exists behind the gates of every military facility an institutional
    understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that
    becomes part of your marrow and never, ever leaves you.

    Personally, I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the
    military, and who you were dealing with. That's because you could read
    somebody's uniform from 20 feet away and know the score.

    Service personnel wear their careers on their sleeves, so to speak.

    When you approach each other, you can read their name tag, examine their
    rank and, if they are in dress uniform, read their ribbons and know where
    they've served.

    I miss all those little things you take for granted when you're in the ranks,
    like breaking starch on a set of fatigues fresh from the laundry and standing
    in a perfectly straight line that looks like a mirror as it stretches to the
    endless horizon.

    I miss the sight of troops marching in the early morning mist, the sound of
    boot heels thumping in unison on the sidewalks, the bark of sergeants and
    the sing-song answers from the squads as they pass by in review.

    To romanticize military service is to be far removed from its reality,
    because it's very serious business, especially in times of war.

    But I miss the salutes I'd throw at officers and the crisp returns as we
    crisscrossed on the flight line.

    I miss the smell of jet fuel hanging heavily on the night air and the sound
    of engines roaring down runways and disappearing into the clouds.

    I even miss the hurry-up-and-wait mentality that enlisted men gripe
    about constantly, a masterful invention that bonded people more than
    they'll ever know or admit.

    I miss people taking off their hats when they enter a building, speaking
    directly and clearly to others and never showing disrespect for rank,
    race, religion or gender.

    Mostly I miss being a small cog in a machine so complex it constantly
    circumnavigates the earth and so simple it feeds everyone on time,
    three times a day, on the ground, in the air or at sea.

    Mostly, I don't know anyone who has served who regrets it, and doesn't
    feel a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and re-enter
    the world they left behind with their youth.

    Face it guys we all miss it. Whether you had one tour or a career, it
    shaped your life.


    Nov 26, 2008
    Likes Received:

  3. Mongosafari

    Mongosafari El diablo verde

    May 24, 2009
    Likes Received:
    currently stationed in Maine
    I like what you wrote Mrs Glockrunner. I feel the same way except I have no business going back on an Air Force Base. Plus my last base doesn't even exist as it did before. Rhein Main AB, West Germany (it was West Ger back then) has shut down and returned to German ownership. Now businesses, apartments and the Frankfort flughaffen (airport) took over the ramp and hangers.

    435 OMS
    C-130e Crew Chief
  4. 98LS-WON


    Dec 20, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Lacey, WA
    9 more years, I look forward to missing it.