• Friday, November 15, 2019

What are we fighting for?

Discussion in 'Seniors Cafe' started by jhungary, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    The great general once said “You tell your men you are soldiers and that’s your flag. You tell them nobody take our flag. And you raise that flag so it flies high where everyone can see it

    That’s summed it up pretty good on the situation, but ironically this speech is not really coming from any famous general, instead it’s a line coming from Robert Redford character in the Last Castle.

    So, why we fight? Different people usually have different answer for it, some join up to have three squares a day, some because the court told them to or they are going to jail, some think being a soldier is a duty for your country. Well, I bet you ask 1000 soldier why they join up and fight; you will have 1,000 different reasons.

    Being a soldier is not just be the looky part, yeah you have a smart uniform, and you have 3 meals a day and a roof (Almost always) over your head. That’s not why we fight, well, as least that’s what I used to think.

    Before I signed up, I asked myself, is America really what I would put my life down to protect, remember that was before 9/11 and there are no patriotic BS like revenge the Twin Tower and stuff like that. I sign up because the Army gives me an opportunity; they give me what I think the most important thing in the world, a purpose in life.

    Still, before even going to war, I always ask myself why I am still here, the training is tough, the people are cruel (well, there are no other way to describe the DS) and the pay is crap (I know, we’ve been on that road before) Then come the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Well, when I first got the notice that I am heading over there, along with 43 of my men under my command. This is the first time I feel the responsibility, the burden of command if you would like to put it. It’s when you are in a position that 43 men and their live depend on you, depend on how you make your decision. You started to realize, crap, that’s a lot to take, I don’t even know if I am going to survive this tour, how am I going to look after the 43 men under my command??

    What very strange is, my first tour is Iraq in 2003, when the media had debate the *** out of the reason why we were send over there, whether or not Saddam Hussein have WMD and how it related to 9/11. Almost everyone in the country have a different say, some say this is just, some say this is not and we should not be there. Well, since there are TV in barrack, and what I can see my people can see too. So I booked a rec room and have a pre-deployment pep talk to them.

    So, we all sit in a circle, well, two circle to be exact, with me and my platoon sergeant sitting and standing in front. I ask them to open up about the upcoming deployment. Well, 43 people have 43 different voice, although I encourage them to talk freely, I still think they did zipped their mouth for some issue. So, 43 people, not all of them think we should be there. Of course some of them are very keen on going over there and kick some ***. But even with only 43 people, the view is disputed and we still have all sort of voice regarding the war.

    I don’t really know why it struck me where it struck me, at that precise moment when everybody opened up. The Speech Robert Redford make during the movie come to my mind. Then I said: “Take a look at each other, what do you see in common - The flag and the uniform. The guy next to you maybe black, and you maybe white and I maybe Hispanic or Chinese. You may vote for republican and I may vote for democrats, he may be from the south; you may be from the west. Other than the flag and the uniform, we have nothing in common.”

    In war, you may not agree on many things, but the fact that you were the same uniform under the same flag is what united us here. You may not like where this country is going, or you may not think what we are doing is just, put it aside for the next election. When we are going over there, I don’t care what you think you like it or not, I just ask you to be there to back up your buddy.

    Many people confused about the idea, that’s fighting for a country is the same as fighting for the government. That’s no way near the truth. I have my allegiance pledged to my country, not to the government, you do your job so people back home can be safe. You don’t fight for any government, you don’t fight for money, you fight for the trust from your people and the trust that people under your command/

    Back in the 60s, my dad got drafted to the Military. He is dead set against killing, but he did not abandon his country and burn draft card or went to Canada like everybody else. He said, if my country need me, I will be there, it’s a fact I don’t like killing, but that does not stop me from serving my country. That’s how he ended up being 1F and a conscious objector and a Corpsman.

    He came back to the States in the 70s, after a tour in Vietnam and patch up as many sailors, marine and soldier as he can. You know what is the first thing the Sergeant in Edward AFB said when he and a bunch of DEROS that touched down? “You may want to ditch your uniform” My dad told me that he was so pissed at the Sergeant and almost hit him in the jaw. But when he exit the base via the back gate, these hippies protestor just waiting for them and hurl whatever there is at their hand on anyone wearing the uniform.

    My dad did not tell me much else, other than this “People who never served never ever gonna understand what we have gone thru, and you know the ironic part is? We do it for them.”
    Let’s fast forward to 2005, there is a sergeant whom was with me when we first deployed to Iraq back in 2003; he wanted to rejoin the unit and deploy to Afghanistan. When I look at his 201, what I saw is his 3 years service record was all deployed overseas to either Iraq or Afghanistan. I look at him and say “Wow, you like it over there? Why would you go back” He could have a nice training tour In one of the Infantry school and he could have any other duty he wanted. He got enough point for that, But instead he come back and ask to transfer to my unit and went to Afghanistan. You want to know what he said.

    “I signed up, so there is a place for me over there, and if I don’t go and somebody go in my place, and if that person died, it would be on me.”

    So in Iraq, the first thing I do is to pull the platoon together and have a pep talk. I said
    “You are soldiers and that’s your flag (Point to the flag on the soldier’s right sleeve), you tell your man nobody is taking that flag, and you want to follow it whenever you go” This flag, represent the brotherhood we share and the shit we are about to go thru. And you will not abandon your flag or your brother when things get tough. That’s why we fight.

    @Neptune @WebMaster @jaibi @Slav Defence @Alpha1 @Joe Shearer @AUSTERLITZ
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  2. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ SENIOR MEMBER

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    Don't remember where i heard it,but someone said 4 types of people join the army.
    One -they come from a military family and its a tradition.
    Two - Patriots ,they want to serve their country/faith earnestly.
    Three - guys who are looking for a respectable job,have the proper requirements and basically have not much to do.
    Four - Killers by nature needing a license.(very small part)

    I liked the saying.
     
  3. Joe Shearer

    Joe Shearer PROFESSIONAL

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    This was a really evocative piece, and I am glad I read it. Thank you, @jhungary.
     
  4. IND151

    IND151 BANNED

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    Kindly give a source.

    The bolded part applies to other walks of life to much extent, I think.

    Many times people complain that their superiors are bossy and don't support them while they are right, without realizing that their superiors always see the things in broader spectrum and are responsible for controlling a large number of people and use their talent (read human resource).

    Leading people is not easy. They will make mistakes.

    2+2= 4. A bad leader may mean 2+2= 3.

    But a good leader can make 2+2=5.

    On Topic: nice article.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  5. Neptune

    Neptune SENIOR MEMBER

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    @WebMaster this is why people leave forums

    @jhungary pretty busy now, will reply next week man.
     
  6. Icarus

    Icarus ADVISORS

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    Thank you @jhungary for yet another evocative and hard hitting piece. It is indeed a difficult question for some to grasp as to what the exact motivation of a fighting man is. He can earn more, live better and spend more time with his family if he works in some other field but then again, the satisfaction of staying awake knowing that others sleep because of you, the satisfaction of taking a bullet for your brothers in arms, these feelings can seldom be put into words and can be known only by men who have served. Which is why, even when you see members from opposing countries using hate speech and war-mongering, veterans on the forum are never seen disrespecting each other. There's a mutual self-respect among servicemen, because they know just as well as the other, why they fight.

    Your freedom, your security, your sense of well-being and protection, your right to progress are all guaranteed by some poor policeman who drives past your street 10 times a night or some soldier who stands guard at an isolated mountain top. Without these men, what is there to stop someone walking right up to your door and depriving you of all that you have worked for.
     
  7. Icarus

    Icarus ADVISORS

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    There is always need for authority, mankind always needs someone to steer the masses; first their were elders, then chieftains, kings followed and then came the age of universal suffrage. If there was nobody leading, chaos would ensue and all order would collapse, men would kill each other for their clothes. It would be anarchy.
    I serve the government, I serve the representatives of the people, I serve the higher authority and I serve to maintain order and balance.
    BTW, about capitalism, I'm actually a Communist, which does well to explain my romantic obsession with the state.
     
  8. EagleEyes

    EagleEyes PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    @Leader there is a place and discussion of everything. This is not the place or discussion.

    @Icarus no need to drag discussions on idiotic posts.
     
  9. Alpha1

    Alpha1 SENIOR MEMBER

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    My Family has been in the Army since Anyone can remember , Joining the Army is more about family tradition, ''Hounour''
    Personaly There is something about medals , uniform (especialy Ceremonial)
     
  10. Urbanized Greyhound

    Urbanized Greyhound SENIOR MEMBER

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    Though a complete stranger to the military , from a distant observer's perspective it seems to me that all four types of people have at least one thing in common ---PURPOSE . Military gives a lot of purpose , focus , determination --basically all that is really required in a lifetime, for the most part.

    Having spoken first hand with Armymen and air-force personnel , on a slightly different note though --it does corroborate my individual observations that such people are driven by purpose and motivation --and a Common man , no matter his environment or circumstance finds this "amazing" focus , determination and sense of "purpose" in a military personnel to be absolutely "irresistible".
     
  11. VCheng

    VCheng ELITE MEMBER

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    A well-written piece, thank you. It does well to show the mindset of a military man fighting for his flag and country.

    We should always keep in mind Clausewitz's famous saying:

    "War is the continuation of politics by other means."
     
  12. Developereo

    Developereo PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    One must always make the distinction between criticizing the uses to which an army is put v/s the individual soldier himself or herself.

    Barring inevitable exceptions, most soldiers sign up for worthy reasons.
     
  13. VCheng

    VCheng ELITE MEMBER

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    That is a great point, but persistent corruption of the true purpose of an Army lends itself to such distinctions being lost easily.
     
  14. Developereo

    Developereo PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    The corruption to which I think you are referring is made mostly by leaders and politicians, not the foot soldiers.
     
  15. VCheng

    VCheng ELITE MEMBER

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    Yes, but my statement highlights the effects of that corruption rather than the source.