A lot of my life experiences came serving in the United States Army, which ended with an Honorable Discharge in 2012.
It contributes a lot to who I am, how I see the world, and my gratefulness for being alive.
This is what I experienced.
Items in this tier wowed me.
- Infantry Platoon Leader – 8 Months – A lot of military success is about timing. I deployed late when I arrived to my unit, and only had 2 months time in Iraq. I learned to love my soldiers, and became bitter when I switched out of the position early because of timing (new officers were coming in). I intentionally left out that I was Mortar Leader Qualified because I wanted to stay with my platoon longer, which unfortunately didn’t work, and I didn’t get another platoon either. Nuts. After 8 months, I was moved up to my next position.
- United States Military Ranger School – 62 Days – This was a gut check. It’s full of Physical Challenges, Starvation and the realization no one earns their Ranger Tab alone, it’s earned with the buddies beside you that help carry you through. You need to learn to love the suck. I really wanted to serve as a platoon leader, and that desire also helped get me through. I was a Winter Graduate, so I got to learn what real cold felt like and thankfully did not have to recycle. Whenever life sucks, I compare it to time here, and nothing sucks as bad.
Items in this tier provided me supreme value for the cost and time invested
- United States Military Academy – 4 Cadet Years + 5 Years Active Duty – The 4 Years at the United States Military Academy is what constituted this training. Being treated like a plebe the first year was miserable. The beginning of understanding what power does to some people, and developing my own leadership style is where all this started, right after High School. I met a lot of lifelong friends, and my wife. I’m thankful to have this unique experience in my life.
- Projects Officer (S9) – 12 Months – Pretty much I was an accountant to make sure America didn’t finance bogus projects and that money went to the right place. I learned what it’s like to stand up to a superior officer for what’s right, get my life thrown upside down for disobeying an officer, and then learn that I hate letting people have total control of my life. I managed an entire Battalion’s money for 9 months before getting help to go on leave. In the few hours I had to myself, I researched video game development from Indie Bits and Pixel Prospector
- Executive Officer – 12 Months – My first taste of Logistics. I hate logistics. Logistics has to be the easiest position to be corrupt in. I stopped the handshakes and black market dealings, because if it was me, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. I think my performance hurt because I didn’t do shady deals. I started to sacrifice taking care of myself in the interest of working more, which only hurt my physical fitness, performance, energy levels and sense of confidence.
Items in this tier provided me a good amount of value for the cost and time invested
- Logistics Officer (S4) – 12 Months – More logistics… I continued to sacrifice taking care of myself to work harder and longer hours. The military rewards hard work with more work. I stopped working out most of the time, and opted to just work more hours. About this time, I also took on Casualty Assistance Officer and Casualty Notification Officer duties, which increased my stress levels. I developed physical ailments from not managing stress, or myself. Upon honorably discharging from the Army, I was broken physically, mentally and spiritually. My dreams of what I thought the Army would be like were dead, and I mourned it.
Items in this tier provided me some value for the cost and time invested
- United States Military Airborne School – 3 Weeks – I faced my fears of jumping out of Airplanes. Thankfully, no broken legs. I jumped out of five, perfectly good airplanes.
- Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course – 17 Weeks – For Officers who become Infantry Officers. Learned military tactics, more Peer Leadership, and learning to enjoy the suck.
- Combatives Level 1 – 40 Hours + 10 Punches to the Face – While everyone at the Academy goes through boxing, this was another time to see what it’s like to do hand to hand combat. There’s a different kind of feeling you get when training with a gun and training with your fists.
White Tier (None)
Items in this tier provided me little to no value for the cost and time invested
Items in this tier felt like value was taken away from me for the cost and time invested
- Basic Officer Leader Course – ~3 Months – Mostly for Non-Combat Arms Officers so they know what to do when they’re attacked on a convoy in Iraq or Afghanistan. A lot of Peer Leadership involved, which is always a challenge. They eventually cancelled it because it wasn’t the best training.
My time in the Military is over. I’ll add a couple courses as I remember them, but not much more will be added to this list.
I hope this’ll help you to understand more of who I am.
If you’re a fellow soldier of America or her allies, thanks for your service.
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