It's a theme that has been bouncing around since my sister came over last night for dinner after she and one of her boys got back from a New Year in San Diego. Her husband boarded a flight to China after they left for metroparkcentralis. The title, 'you don't know how lucky you are' boiled up from watching a clip of "House" on you tube. It was said by the "House" pater familias and it struck a chord with me. I was one of the lucky ones.
Born in '61 I missed all of the unpleasantness of the draft and Vietnam. I joined the military when I was 18 but there was no war. Went to the Persian Gulf for a year on the Middle East Force flagship and earned my credentials in a war zone but we were not at war with either Iraq or Iran.
I went back from time to time as Chief Engineer of ships in the war zone but the war we fought doesn't even have a name. We called it Praying Mantis but tell that to the average citizen on the streets in America and they'll turn themselves inside out looking for a big bug.
I was a department head of a mobile unit that was not mobilized for Desert Storm. I didn't lunge out of the gate to shout, me, me, me! I was content to wait until they mobilized my unit but they didn't. Later, years later, I became one of them again and was mobilized to serve as the Ops for thousands of men and women we mobilized to send over to OIF and the Med and Fuj and a number of other places.
My father wondered why I didn't shove myself forward to serve as a provincial reconstruction wallah or something and what could I say? The very best leadership I ever had in a war zone was when the 06 was 12,000 miles away? In my 30 years of experience nothing screwed up success like an 06 living in one's vest pocket. I didn't want to be that guy and executing a policy I didn't agree with struck me as a bad deal all around. I told him that if they wanted me, they had my address and my phone number.
And that's the way it worked with all services filling Army useless/stupid billets in country because the army could not wrap it's head around the internet of things and the simple fact that 70% of the 'staff' officers could do it just as well at home, sort of like the Chair Force learning that you didn't have to deploy drone drivers to the desert because one desert is just like all the other deserts and if you knew the first iota of leadership, you didn't screw your people needlessly. You saved it for when you had no choice.
All things considered, I was lucky. Sure I spent years in a war zone but it was tolerable because that's the way it was. Someday, not now, I'll write about the pure stupidity of using the sonar tilt to look at just the bottom for the mine anchors while driving in the mine fields because some twit thought that would be a good thing. Nevermind that one of us might have missed an actual mine in the volume and run in to it while the sonar was pounding the bottom instead of the volume.
When I was staff we absolutely didn't do this kind of idiocy.