I start this journal off today with mixed emotions. In 3 days I will be promoted to Sergeant. I am supposed to be the most visible leader for my men. I am supposed to support the leaders above me, and the decisions those leaders make. I am supposed to be the man that the men look up to when the rights are hard and the wrongs are easy. Now I find myself slipping a bit more and more each day as guidance comes from higher.
Our takeover from the previous unit was horrid. Luckily we did not get tested. The process in which we signed for our equipment and worked off the deficiencies was sloppy and unsatisfactory. However, in the defense of my battalion leadership, it probably looked great on paper. Since we took over for an armored cavalry unit, who used mainly Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Abrams Tanks, the humvees we received, although new, were not in tip-top shape. We were flexible, took what we could get, and drove on with the mission. But within a few days reality set in.
Christmas cheer comes with reserve on a day filled with patrols and work for each platoon. To augment that, brigade and battalion leadership was here for what we call a “dog and pony show.” This means that even with a full plate for our company we had to parade around, clean extra, and walk on increasingly thin ice. To further induce high-blood pressure amongst the troops we saw that Santa Claus had apparently visited with gifts of Gold[i], Frankincense[ii], and Myrrh[iii]. We were fending for ourselves with iffy equipment, insufficient equipment, or just having enough of the equipment we needed to get by on the skin of our teeth. It hurts to drink coffee right now if you can catch my drift. It is remarkable how much more a man is worth when rank is involved. After all, rank has its privileges, and living through a combat tour is a privilege. It's a hard world to live in when perception is reality...
But with all this said, I am supposed to be professional. I am required to support a chain of command, even when I feel unsupported by them.
[i] Kits specifically made to add extra protection to a humvee from blast.
[ii] Kits to help defend from certain roadside bombs.
[iii] Another kit to help defend from certain roadside bombs.
Names of equipment are withheld for tactical privacy. Although information is released across the web about our equipment and abilities, it behooves me to keep our said specific equipment names from being publicly known.