Monday, May 26, 2008

Inside Baseball

If you are a recruiter you have probably spent more than one night in a bar after getting out of the recruiting station. Lord knows I have. There were some nights when getting into that smoke-filled bar was like grabbing hold of a life preserver. The fact that the preferred watering hole for my recruiting station had cheap beer and was very pro-military only made it better. If you have done your time in recruiting without ever needing a night of just washing the stress away, one bottle at a time, you're a better person than I am and you have my respect.

There is a time and a place for it though. And I knew where it was. And I didn't do anything about it. As ashamed as I am to say it, I even encouraged the crossing of that line. As a result a price is being paid. The list of things that could have, and should have, been done is a long as the list of blatant warning signs that I either ignored, laughed off, or rationalized. If I'd been a better NCO or friend I'd have done something to stop what was inevitable if everyone stood back and watched. But I was not. And for that, if you're reading this, I'm sorry.

I know that "military recruiter blogging" seems to have been something which died out about a year ago. Seeing as how only one of the seven "current" blogs I link to has been updated in 2008. I don't know how many recruiters still drop by here, I do know it is a lot less than before. It doesn't bother me. I do this as much for the occasional clarification of my thoughts as I do for anything else. But if there are any recruiters reading this, dear god people, don't end your careers, marriage, family, or lives while you're in this shitty assignment.

My time in USAREC ended about three months ago. Since then I've lost weight, work out 5-6 times a week, I enjoy going to work and being in the Army. I leave next week for a month at Hunter-Liggett getting to train Soldiers. Not bullshit "training" like they want you to do with Future Soldiers, but honest-to-God, fully tactical enviroment training for men and women who will be going into harm's way sometime in the not-to-distant future. To those recruiters out there who are still stressing about that kid going to MEPS tomorrow. Who are smiling and dialing long past sanity trying to get that third grad made. Who are sweating out that nut in T1:
It will end, and things will get better
When you are finished with the New Recruiter Program, and those next two and a half years seem like they will take forever, and you have no idea how you'll deal with it because you're too shy, or don't talk well on the phone, or can't identify with those kids, one day it will end. You'll be at battalion and the incentives manager will be giving you your final point sheet and you'll be done. It is the sweetest day.

Do not do anything to jeopardize that. You're giving your fitness, your health, bits of your sanity to recruiting. The drain of the 3:30 drives to the outskirts of your territory to pick up a kid to take him to MEPS because the budget folks jacked up and don't have the money for the shuttle will take its toll. Do not let it beat you. And more importantly, do not take the chemical of your choice to make it better. It's not worth it. If you're a leader or a friend of someone who you think is going to do something self-destructivly stupid do something about it. For their sake do something about it. Take them aside and let them know what you're seeing. Direct them to get some help. Worst case scenario drive them to the CLT and tell the first sergeant, CO, or RT what is going on. Do something before someone else does.


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