Reflections of an American Soldier

In a world full of instant gratification,  Social Media, and “What’s In It For Me” thinkers there are still those who believe in to be in service of others, to conduct ourselves with honor, live with integrity and  also, conducting ourselves with a sense of dignity and pride.

By Raul Dinzey


Once in a while you will see an American Soldier in uniform at an Airport, a Train Station, in Church or in your city or town. And you will stop just for a moment and notice so many things. Don’t you love it how children will stand in awe with eyes open wide and innocently ask  “What is that?” And a parent, an adult or an older child  will respond with admiration, that’s an American Soldier. 

  • There is no denying that there is something about an American Soldier. She, or he walks a little smoother, carries her, or himself a little more erect, has a palpable fire in her or his heart to be the best, do her or his best; and to lead, to follow the leader or to get out of the way. 
  • Soldiers have refined the art of using their  proven expertise with the tools of their trade with pin- point accuracy in order to complete the mission correctly and the best way possible. 

Decide to do Something Awesome 

The fact is our Country needs volunteers to prove her or himself qualified by undergoing  mental aptitude testing, physical examination, drug test and criminal background check. Our country needs warriors with a strong will, physically fit and mentally tough. So that they  can be trained and prepared to serve side- by -side with like minded warriors who also stand ready to defend our nation.

  • Tradition and Pride. Our nation’s Armed Forces are at their core Guard the American way of life and have taken a solemn oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.  The only higher calling which can compare is to love the Lord with all our heart all our strength and all our soul. This oath calls us to serve unto death.
  • Dare to face your doubts and fears. Somewhere inside of our body there is an invisible switch that will give us that burst of intestinal fortitude to overcome adversity and to slay real or imaginary giants. 
    • There will be days when  you  will stand-up to yourself. To speak life and break free. My experience was deafening. I  am a Child of God! I  was born to win! I  have unlimited potential. I  can, I  shall and I will! Negative self has to be challenged with force prayer and faith- talk in front of the mirror . 
  • Nearly each one of us is custom-fitted with a phenomenal brain and a spirit that was made to be someone special and achieve great things. Dare to do something great.

Initial Entry Training and Jump School

The transition of becoming a Soldier involves several phases which begin the day of departure from your home and your arrival to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). The indoctrination process begins and you take your oath. Such a solemn event as you stand facing the officer administering the office will state, repeat after me, “I, state your full name, do solemnly swear or affirm. That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,  both foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; And that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the Regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, so help me God.”  The strength and the meaning of the words of the oath.

Every one of us has her or his Basic Training/Boot Camp story.

The longest day is the first day of Basic Combat Training because we are creatures of habit and we quickly adapt to structure  and go -with -flow. After all, we joined the Army,  the Army didn’t join us. 

  • Upon arrival to the building where the unit is located and where you will spend your initial entry training the bus stops, the door opens and a Sergeant steps into  the Bus with a serious look on his or her face and welcomes you to the unit. He or she is dressed in uniform and if a male, he  is wearing a Campaign Hat which some people call a Smokey the Bear Hat. Or, if female, she is wearing an Australian Bush hat which is worn by the Female Drill Sergeants. 
  • The Drill Sergeant provides everyone on Bus with their first taste of reality. Let me have your attention! When I blow my whistle, you have 60 seconds to get yourselves off this Bus and line up in 4 ranks. Do you understand? Everyone answered Yes Drill Sergeant! He or she will blow the whistle and the chaotic exit off the Bus of green Soldiers (nickname for brand new Soldiers) is something to behold. 
  • The inward scramble and self conversation is incredible. I wonder what is going to happen next? What did he say, what’s going on? Move, someone yelled and the sound of boots pounding everywhere matched the internal conversation. 
  • Outside the Bus there were at seemed like 20 other Drill Sergeants yelling and screaming while providing orders to this absolutely panick stricken group of new Soldiers.  
  • We were ordered to get back on the Bus because  we were moving too slow. We got back on the Bus and were given the same instructions as before. And off the Bus we came  to line up as one mass of humanity in 4 Ranks (which is lines of Soldiers lined up one behind another evenly spaced exactly one arm’s length 6 inches) . 
  • We were then ordered to find and secure, which means to bring, our Duffel bag and suitcases which we would later learn to refer to it as “Bag and baggage.” 
  • Naturally because some people were moving too slow! We had to repeat this exercise at least 3 times. 
  • There is nothing like doing the duffel bag drag to get people moving.The Duffel bag drag is, (or, it was  since it may have changed) when a Soldier is loaded down with her or his suitcases and her or his Duffel bag. 
  • Basic Airborne Course, dearly called “Jump School” is where Soldiers learn to put their knees in the breeze. To jump from an Aircraft while in flight. Are you motivated? Enthusiasm is one of most  infectious and awe inspiring behaviors. 
  • Imagine this… You are among a group of people with guts, tenacity and drive to go the distance until the job is done. Can you see yourself being a part of a group of enthusiastic and motivated people  and you begin to do things in perfect unity?  There is this feeling that you get that confirms you are in the right place, doing the right thing.  Remember, every good and worthwhile thing is going to be hard. For every adversity there is an equal or greater reward.  You will be unfulfilled if you don’t dare to do awesome and scary things.  

The Road to Self Discovery and Reinventing Yourself 

My Army experience started in Fort Bragg NC, the 82nd Airborne Division as a Tactical Wire Communications Specialist.  After a  couple of years and some interesting situations involving establishing, maintaining and recovering landline communications and also Radio Wire communications ( which is now compared to the stone age). 

  • Only to realize I wasn’t living up to my potential and passion.  This is what prompted me  to change my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) to what we now call Human Resources Specialist where I thrived and found my niche. 
  • As a lesson learned and a rule to live by: Assess, ponder. Consider and decide 1. What brings meaning and fulfillment to you?  2. What job, profession or business do you see yourself doing for the next 3 to 5 years? And 3. What are you going to do to grow,  develop and be successful in this new position? 
  • If you are clueless or at least curious about your options, someone can help you or at least point you in the right direction. 
  • Learning something new can be challenging, exciting, painful and fun in no particular order. 
  • Naturally learning new skills will involve change. 
  • In order for you to become the person you envision you will have to undergo the physical, mental and psychological testing of your ability to perform your duties with a diverse workforce under near combat conditions to prove that you deserve to be one of us. An American Soldier. 

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