You’re in the Army Now

Christian platoonOne week after rifling through The Lords of Discipline (author Pat Conroy), I was driving to Ft. Jackson in Columbia, SC. My nephew was graduating Army boot camp. His brother had joined five years earlier. I was no stranger to the military way of life in that both of my fathers were career Navy men. Charleston was the ultimate destination for my stepfather’s final assignments. Many of my high school classmates chose to attend Charleston’s military college, The Citadel. So, I’m a sucker for a uniform. And, I was a little more enlightened regarding the military drill process when I finished Pat Conroy’s book.

Between the Army band’s performance and the final presentation march, Lt. Col. J. C. Glick addressed the platoons. His speech is still playing in my head in that it applies to anyone—not just the new soldiers. We’ve all had a boot camp moment in life. He offered three pieces of advice. I compared the advice to my own personal triumphs in spite of the hardship that accompanied the victory.

Be Proud. He reminded the troops that on their first day that he would not thank them for promising to serve in the US military—he’d thank them as they’d stand before him on graduation. They’d paid their dues and were entitled to feel deep pride.

Never become Complacent. Just because they had completed their first training phase, they shouldn’t become complacent. They were to stay in a state of awareness and education. They were not allowed to make an excuse to skip running the last mile or skip push-ups. Be warzone ready.

Be Humble. It balances pride. It took each other’s support and unity to reach the point of graduation. Friendships were forged and bonds created that would last a lifetime. They were advised to not allow a sense of superiority to shadow being a soldier. A soldier that is part of a larger Army unit, a contributor to a community—a nation.

In the wake of the graduation, I looked back into my own boot camp towards adulthood… childhood. And then, I sifted through the battle grounds in my life involving relationships, marriage, parenting, career and personal growth. As I emerged from each excursion, I felt proud, intuitively knew to never become complacent but also strive to remain humble because I never got through it solo.

Good words, Lt. Col. Glick.

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “You’re in the Army Now

  1. Love this post Kat. There is much wisdom here; most especially in the last. Personally I think HUMBLE should be a required classroom course for everybody. It’s been my experience in the last few years that the emphasis on pride and empowerment has all but cancelled out humility. The military mess hall may be the remaining place where the buffet is not a constant diet of affirmation without accomplishment. Thanks for the reminder. Great post:)

  2. Reading this blog jarred me deeply into my childhood since Kathleen compared our childhoods to boot camp. Her summary braiding Tom Conroy’s masterpiece, her nephew’s graduation, Lt. J.C. Glick’s message, and her comparing of childhood to boot camp pieced my subconscious like a bayonet. Troubling me. Why? It took a couple of days and a brief e-chat with Kathleen for me to realize that my childhood was not a boot camp. During that time I was not being prepared to win; I was being prepared to lose. I did not have a Sarge or Lt. Col Glick to train us to work as a team; instead, we were programed to compete. We were not taught humility; we were humiliated. I am so gratified that this new generation trains soldiers, men and women to win, to never be complacent, and to work as a team. I hope that there are women in my great nephew’s graduating class. Thank you, Kathleen. Your lovely sketch has enlightened me.

  3. Your presence at my son’s graduation and also reuniting with my older son meant the world to me. I am so proud of what the Army has done for each of them. I hope that the fine qualities that I feel were instilled in them as children will be further enhanced and appreciated in their military careers. Colonel Glick was a truly gifted speaker.

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