Recently my husband was home on leave. While he was home, we did all sorts of things together. We watched movies, cooked together, hung out in our PJ's and went to family events. One of those events was my stepdaughters cheer-leading competition.
They did great and while they did not win, their teams did great and didn't place too badly, although personally I thought they should have placed a little higher. At the end of the championship we waited at the end for the girls to change out of their uniforms and turn them in. While we waited, a lot of people passed by us and one in particular caught my husbands eye.
He was wearing a leather coat and on the front was a NG patch. My husband asked him about it and he said he was former guard. He then asked where he was out of and after he told him, the other guy stated, "Hey, that's where I was!" They grinned at each other and an instant comradery was beginning to form. Then after it turned out that this guy had the same MOS that my husband does currently, they clasped hands and shook.
He asked what they were doing now, as he thought the unit was supposed to be out. My husband mentioned they were out and he was just home on R&R. ...that's when it all went downhill. Our new acquaintance said, "That's why I lied about stuff so get kicked out. It's 'National' Guard, not 'International' Guard! I signed up to protect our homeland, not go off to some desert for other people. I wasn't going over there." He paused, rocked back on his heels and added, "Yeah, those guys don't like me very much."
As soon as he said "..and that's why I lied about stuff to get kicked out.." My husband and I stared at each other. My jaw may have hit the ground, but thankfully I had two other kids with me to pick it back up for me and remind me to be proper. After I successfully re-attached my jaw, I listened to the hoopla that my husband was saying, something about how it wasn't as bad as it was made out to be and sure, this guy was okay and so was that one. Yes, he knew that guy, you bet he's a good guy. After the pleasantries were exchanged, he shook my husbands hand again and headed off.
On the back of his black leather jacket was one of those oversized patches that take up the entire back. It was an eagle superimposed over an American flag, with the Guard symbol in the mix as well. Under this, it stated "Proud to Serve." Once again, my jaw hit the floor and I turned my head sharply to look at my husband. He had the same appalled look on his face that mirrored my own.
I pointed in the general direction that the man had gone. I asked my husband, "Did he just say.." "Yup." said my husband, not giving me time to finish was I was going to say. "Did you see the ..." "Oh yeah." my husband said, "Proud to serve." Then my husband said a couple things that I won't repeat here, or anywhere. Needless to say, I'm fairly certain that that guy was lucky that we were in a public place.
Now, just to clarify, one of the lines from the Soldiers Creed is as follows:
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
Now... someone point out to me where it says that you get to stay on American Soil to do all this? Oh, that's right... it doesn't. In fact, it specifically states 'I stand ready to deploy..." So, boys and girls, does everyone know what that means? Deploy? Oh good, thought I was missing something there for a minute.
So here's the thing. Don't sign up for something if you don't have the balls to carry through. Don't stay in for three years and then bail on your team at the first sign of trouble or real conflict internationally. Know what someone is who does that?
I thought of my Uncles, my Grandfathers, my Brother, my Sister-in-Law, my friends and now my Husband who has willingly served both on the home front and overseas. And I was sick to my stomach that this person lied to get out. That he was not man enough to stand up for the oath that he took and let down his team. They are likely better off without this man, but that is not quite the point.
That this person had the gall to say something like that to my husband was probably one of the insulting things I have ever heard in my entire life. As if everyone in my husbands entire unit agrees with the official stand on the war? Doubt it. But they do what they are told because they took an oath.
And they are Man enough to uphold it, regardless of the sacrifice.