If you know an individual in the military, take the time to read:
20 years... 20 years to a retirement that most think is quick and easy. Two phrases that really upseting are “just stick it out, you only have __ years left” or “it’s worth it for the retirement.” Just stick it out and retire? What are those worth to you?
Have you ever stopped to think about how much someone in the military can go through in just months, weeks, or even a day? The amount of stress that builds daily, and the “mission” still needs to get done at whatever cost. The jobs on top of jobs we are expected to do? By saying this you are telling us that our problems are not that bad. That a check is more important than our lives.
We leave our families and miss years of our children’s lives.
Our children screaming and crying, saying “daddy/mommy please don’t leave us.”
The nights before we leave, crying in silence next to our beautiful babies, not knowing when we will see them again.
We watch through social media of our families and friends back home having get togethers.
We feel helpless of our family’s struggles back home that we wish we could help with or be there for them in person.
We are constantly saying goodbye, and picking up just to start over.
We are stressed out and feel isolated at times.
Our marriages fail because we are taught “service before self.”
We put our lives on the line and are willing to sacrifice them at a moments notice.
And what people do not see are the internal struggles, loneliness, and suffering in silence. The absolute lowest of lows that many are to afraid to talk about. They do not want to bother people. Because “This is what we signed up for”.
Many struggle to the point of no return. They decide they have no way out and some take their own life.
They get lost in the mix of things. They are so overwhelmed and suffer from high-functioning depression, because “mission needs to get done.”
We go through some annual suicide awareness trainings. The sad part is that we are not only taught to see the signs but also indirectly taught how to hide them. This makes it harder and harder to read an individual.
I love the push-up challenges, they are raising awareness for a very important cause. But let me pose this question? When you post those videos, are you doing anything behind them? If you are a family member, are you asking your service member if they are okay? How are they doing? How may I assist you?
If you are a military member, are you sitting down having face to face conversations with your peers and subordinates? Hell even your supervisor and commanders? Believe it or not they have deep rooted issues too!
Being in the military we all struggle in our own way. Some of us talk about it, others don’t.
Yes, we have resources, but there are invisible barriers to get to those. We need to reach out instead of putting names on papers.
We need to check on each other. The fact is, we are losing too many of our military personnel to self inflicted wounds. We need to stop pushing them in and start helping them out, and be aware of our brothers and sisters in service.
I don’t want another sole to ever have to come home from a deployment and suffer in silence.
So again, 20 years is a long damn time in the military. Next time instead of “just stick it out” or “you’re so close to retirement” lets try and say a simple “how are you doing?” and “Is there anything I can do or you need help with?”
To my military counterparts:
Take care of one another. Sometimes drop the supervisor or leadership role and just be a friend.
Be involved and stay engaged with everyone. Let’s be PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE as leaders and start getting to know one another better.
NCC (RET) Dudley LAYFIELD III
22 years of Service to the a Country!
ITSCS(SS) Eric Eric M. Steele
27 years of service and still serving this countrys Country!
MMC(SS)/NCC(SS) Retired, Jason P. Shultz
20 years of Service
CSC(SS)(RET) Bryan Syster
20 years of Service
FCC(SW)(RET) Ronald Carr
20 years of service
ADC (AW) Troy Eads
24 years of service.
ATCS (AW) Retired, Eric Redmond
26 years of service
ATCS(AW) Retired, William "PAPPY" William Garnett
20 years of service
ADCS (AW) Retired, Michael A. Wiley
26 Years of service.
Racism is a lot of things. One thing it is not:
A white child, age 5, executed by a black man with a shot to the head, as the tyke rode his bike. Ask the cultural cognoscenti. They'll tell you: That's never racism.
Also whitewashed as random crime is rape, black-on-white. This, even as the American Sociologist, a mainstream scholarly journal, has concluded "that black rapists 'prefer' or 'seek out' white victims."