Everyone has their own reasons for why they joined the military. Is it a family tradition? Patriotism? Love for your country? Accepting a new challenge? Why did you join the military and what does serving mean to you?
I once asked a Soldier who had been in the IRR for four years why she decided to come back to the Army Reserve, she replied to me “ma’am it’s because I missed the misery.” At this point I had only been in the Army Reserve for one year and didn’t understand why would you come back to something that made you feel that way. I then asked that Soldier to explain herself more and why she chose these words to describe her experience. She replied:
“Your civilian counterparts, who have never served, don’t understand what it is to be out in the field when it’s cold, you’re tired, hungry, sleep deprived, but surrounded with other Soldiers who help, encourage and motivate each other to do their best during these times. The bonds and memories that are developed from these situations are priceless. Yes it can get hard when you are a parent, working a full time job, taking college courses and then you have that one weekend a month of drill, it can be too much, but once drill is done and you come back to work on a Monday and your coworkers start talking about their weekend, you just think of how you embraced the suck and worked as a team member to accomplish the mission.”
When was the last time you reflected on your decision of serving your country and the person you’ve become from the date your recruiter told you to raise your right hand to now? How has your career changed from day one to now? The reason that led me to join the military was actually me avoiding taking an extra year of P.E. in high school, all the girl drama was just insane and I didn’t want to be a part of it. When a friend told me that I could take JROTC and substitute that for P.E. I decided to make the switch and sign up for JROTC for my sophomore year of high school. Who knew that 15 year old me was making a decision that would lead to you reading this brief story. I had great mentors in high school and in college that challenged me and encouraged me to always do my best. I appreciate everything the Army has taught me so far and appreciate everyone I’ve had the opportunity of serving next to.
“I came back because I missed the misery.” It’s not the misery that Soldier missed but being part of a team who made the decision to raise their right hand to protect and defend our nation, being a warrior, a member of a team, to serve the people of the United States and live the Army values. That’s what the Soldier missed.
To all who served, continue serving and to all family members supporting us throughout the journey, thank you for serving.