Warning: EXTREME RAMBLING AHEAD
Published on January 25, 2007 By pseudosoldier In Work
As I mentioned in my last post, I now list my profession (so far, only on MySpace) as "warrior monk." Yes, greywar, it sounds better than "geek" and it means something much more to me as well.

Sometimes through adversity, things can become more clear. Not perfectly clear, in my case, but...

I did a lot of reading. A lot of self-improvement books. Some spiritual works: Purpose Driven Life. Some Zen: Zen In The Martial Arts, The Method of Zen. Some military related books: In The Company Of Heroes, The Battle Of Mogadishu, We Were Soldiers Once... And Young.

I've reassessed my priorities; I was forced to, in fact. I've realized that what I really want to be, what I've always wanted to be, is a soldier. I cannot ignore my past actions, but I can decide to not allow them to define my future. Whatever missteps I've made in my career can be now overcome and I can strive to attain a professional level as a soldier and NonComm that I had previously given up on.

My friend and mentor greywar has recently said that most soldiers aren't very altruistic. I want to be the exception. I want soldiers that I train to be the exception (and I face disappointment and frustration when I realize they've already arrived to me flawed in this respect).

I gave a mini-lecture to some students the other day when one of them let out a "Aw, man!" because I hadn't released them into the gym before the National Anthem sounded to bring down the colors. "I enjoy saluting the flag. It gives me that warm fuzzy soldierly feeling inside."

I was proud to serve on the funeral detail I attended earlier this month. The deceased was not a war hero. He had served and attained the rank of Private First Class and was honorably discharged, long ago. But his service to his country was worthwhile, I am convinced of that, and I was glad to be assigned to honor him.

I served in a Joint Service Color Guard for a memorial service for the KIA and MIA. I will represent the Armed Forces on other Color Guards in the next few weeks. I'm proud to serve in that capacity, to represent the Army and the military in general.

The term "warrior monk" came from (at least in this case) the grousing of a retired 1SG whom I have the pleasure (no sarcasm, I love the guy) to work with. His stories of beer machines in the barracks in Germany led to his lamentation that today's Army expected young soldiers to be "warrior monks"; these young soldiers best not get caught doing "the wrong thing."

It certainly wasn't his intent to give this term to me to define something I had been trying to figure out for months. But "warrior monk" fits well; for me, it summons images of a professional, disciplined soldier.

This is something I aspire to. I have to stave off my lazy, complacent side; my self-piteous, depressed self; and embrace ambition(!) that I've never before held as a virtue. The balance of pride and humility necessary to elevate myself to this level is delicate. I want to be a warrior monk.

And, besides, being a "geek" isn't something I really need to try to do.

Comments
on Jan 25, 2007
I have to stave off my lazy, complacent side; my self-piteous, depressed self; and embrace ambition(!) that I've never before held as a virtue.

--Such a wonderful description. And familiar feelings. Thank you...
on Jan 26, 2007
In life some people are lucky to discover their 'aha moments', that thing that they know for sure (undeliberately paraphrasing Oprah). You've found yous and that's a great thing!

I think 'Warrior Monk" is quite fitting for you.

It's moments like you've discovered that people spend a lifetime searching for and not finding. Kudos and geek or warrior, it's not how you define yourself, it's how you live.
on Jan 26, 2007

     The retreat ceremony has always been a sore subject for me with new troops. One of my Drills back at GAFB always made a point of finding (and smoking) the soldiers who would run to get inside prior to the sounding of retreat. There used to be a poster in one of the GAFB chow halls with a poem wondering how many fallen soldiers would love to be able to stand outside and salute the flag but couldn't.

 

     I am glad to hear that you have set your cap on altruistic goals. I applaud the effort even though the Institution of the Army will do it's damndest to beat it out  of you. Hope you stay stronger with it for longer than I did.

on Jan 27, 2007
It does sound cool. Although I have to wonder if there's not a Jedi influence here......

What? I'm altruistic.....just very, very cynical.
on Jan 27, 2007
I think 'warrior monk' is a worthy goal to strive for. Also, rock on with the altruism.
on Jan 29, 2007
The retreat ceremony has always been a sore subject for me with new troops. One of my Drills back at GAFB always made a point of finding (and smoking) the soldiers who would run to get inside prior to the sounding of retreat. There used to be a poster in one of the GAFB chow halls with a poem wondering how many fallen soldiers would love to be able to stand outside and salute the flag but couldn't.


The saluting of the flag is a huge problem here as well. One of our BN signs out here today is chiding Soldiers for not saluting. I am constantly yelling at Soldiers to quit clogging up the building door by standing inside the front entrance at 1630. They would rather stare at the floor than salute the flag. Its such a shame. I can almost here Colangelo's voice come out of my mouth sometimes. He really brainwashed me.......in a good way of course ; )

Brainwashed is perhaps not the right choice of word here.....perhaps 'taught' is more appropriate.
on Jan 29, 2007
Brainwashed is perhaps not the right choice of word here.....perhaps 'taught' is more appropriate.


"Indoctrinated." I think that's the Army's preferred word. Or perhaps "soldierized."

When I was out on my visit to you guys last fall, we were spoken to about students at the NCO Academy not saluting officers. Not the exact same issue, but related... SGTs and SSGs would just walk away from LTs and CPTs (and Generals!) without rendering a salute.
on Jan 30, 2007
When I was out on my visit to you guys last fall, we were spoken to about students at the NCO Academy not saluting officers. Not the exact same issue, but related... SGTs and SSGs would just walk away from LTs and CPTs (and Generals!) without rendering a salute.


You know, I have lost *so* much respect for those ranks since being stationed here. When they are in a class environment, they behave worse than privates. I still salute them of course, no matter how much it hurts.
on Jan 30, 2007
You know, I have lost *so* much respect for those ranks since being stationed here. When they are in a class environment, they behave worse than privates. I still salute them of course, no matter how much it hurts.


You kidding me? I (and some of my former students) will chase them down just to make them salute back! There's a whole building of AF 2LT, 1LT and CPTs right next door (in a classroom environment, so I get where you're coming from on that).
on Jan 30, 2007
You kidding me? I (and some of my former students) will chase them down just to make them salute back! There's a whole building of AF 2LT, 1LT and CPTs right next door (in a classroom environment, so I get where you're coming from on that).



I like to make them salute back, too, but its just disheartening to see that these people either have led a company or soon will. Also, its appalling to see how nasty they are. We are stuck cleaning latrines after them and its amazing how fast they can mess up a toliet. Actually, its downright gross.
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