Saturday, March 01, 2008

Soldierly Things

Today I did something I hadn't done in nearly a decade.

I qualified on the M16 and the M9.

Yes. The last time I qualified on the M16 was in the summer on 1998 during Annual Training. That was also the last time I fired a real bullet. In the interceding 9 plus years I did have a couple of opportunities to go to the range, but something always came up. USR reporting, issues w/ getting the ammo for the range requiring it to be rescheduled, etc etc. It's not like I avoided going to the range, after all, I'm in the Army and it's expected that I can shoot something. However, it's not like I've been busting my ass trying to get myself to a qualification range. It's just one of those things that just never got done.

Anyways, while the rifle hasn't changed much my skills have though. I wasn't quite "new" to the M16, but there was a learning curve I was way behind. Way behind. It took some work but I did manage to get the scores needed to qualify. I'm not proud of my performance, not at all. However, I'm grateful for the chance to finally get back out there and get the chance.

The M9 was something I'd never fired before. I didn't even know how to drop a magazine when I went to the firing line. I just kinda reached around until I felt something that felt like a magazine release, and it was. But I did manage to put enough rounds into the target to get me a whole new bar on a qualification badge the first time through. Oooooooooh.

I want to feel animus towards recruiting. I want to continue to hate it. But I can't. It's just not worth it. I miss the people with whom I worked, and I do my bet to keep in touch, but, honestly, while I consider most of the close friends, they're now doing something of which I am not a part. It's something I've moved beyond. I'd like to talk with them more, really. However, I don't want to reminisce about the time spent in recruiting because, well, I despised it. Not the way I despised the high infiltration portion of Basic Training where, afterwards, it was something I was pumped up from doing. No, I actually despised recruiting. Sure, I did manage to accomplish something, but it was never close to being enough. Night Infiltration was exilherating because, when it was done, there was a sense of accomplishment. Recruiting lacked that sense. Nothing was ever accomplished at the micro level. Contracts never meant anything to the organization beyond a number. And even meeting the number meant nothing because there was some other number that needed to be met too.

I was going to leave the service if I had to remain in recruiting one day longer than necessary. I've got nearly 13 years in, and I was going to throw it all away to get out of USAREC. I've hated watching it break up marriages. I've hated watching it slowly destroy the Soldiers assigned to it. And I really hated all these things being blamed on the Soldier exclusivly. No matter what the personal issues that affect a recruiter are, it will always be cast as their failure as a Soldier. That, somehow, if you were a better Soldier, you'd be able to recruit better, which would mean you get home earlier so you can spend that time with the family your spouse has been nagging about.

This past month has been a slice of heaven. I have been sleeping better at night. I wake up rested and ready to go. I get to the office early so I can do PT. If I'm not busy, I can even take off a second time during the day to do more PT. When 1600 rolls around I'm closing out my stuff for the day and rolling home. Even with a commute nearly 4 times longer than my previous one, I still get home two hours earlier than I was in recruiting. I have my life back and I have a chance to resume my career.

I'm sure my orders returning me to USAREC are in the mail.

God I'd hate that.


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