Monday, December 20, 2004

Military camaraderie

I am home for the holidays! Arrived last night at LAX at 2am in the morning. From now on it’s only direct flights for me. It’s not like there aren’t direct connections between Frankfurt and Los Angeles. But I like to save where I can…but somehow the satisfaction of saving about $100-150 isn’t so sweet, when your parents have to come pick you up in the middle of the night, instead of the original 9pm at night.

My plane to JKF was about 80% military personnel…it was like one huge pot luck almost. Everyone chatting with everyone. You could hear war stories being exchanged, everyone was happy to be flying home. Quite a few families looking forward to spending time with the grandparents, and cousins. Also dreading future deployments. But it really struck me how upbeat everyone was. It was like this huge family.

I am constantly impressed by the “military community”. Apparently the military community extends beyond the separate units soldiers are in. If you compare the army to any other business/company, you would really have to say that they have some pretty good morale. Okay, I guess the word morale is wrong. Perhaps they aren’t all happy with their jobs, positions or employers…but it is almost like some kind of club. There is some instant camaraderie when two service personnel meet. It’s almost like an alumni association.

It kind of reminds me of the school I used to go to: we didn’t have a lot of materials, the campus was pathetic, we had no intramural sports…but we had some really good teachers (and some lesser good teachers), and although some students came and went, there was a core that was there for a while…which meant that from the 7 people I graduated with [it was a really, really small school], 4 people I had been with since the 5th grade, and the other 3 came in the 6th and 7th grades. We were a motley crew, representing a mixture of immigrant children (French, British, Iranian, and Guatemalan) and American born children of immigrants (Haitian, Mexican), not to mention different religions. But through the fact that we had no choice, but to associate with each other (there weren’t enough children to form cliques), we became a pretty tightly knit group. And even if I groaned inwardly everyday I went to school, I always enjoyed seeing my friends, and bitching with them about those whom I didn’t like. If I were to meet alumni from that school, I would feel an instant affinity with them, because we surely have shared experiences.

I haven’t been exposed to the military life and profession for long enough to really know what it is like. But it seems like there is this shared experience that everyone who has been in the military can emphasize with on some level or another…and I can’t really think of many jobs where this is true. Of course teachers, firefighters and policeman can always exchange “war stories,” but as they aren’t all operating under the same employer they don’t always have the shared experiences.

2 Comments:

Blogger ac blue eagle said...

I hope you have a good time at home! You have an interesting background.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Sminklemeyer said...

Cali,

I too hope you had fun at home, but you hit the nail on the head when you said we're like a club. People in the military form a bond like nothing I've ever experienced. The only thing I can compare it to is high school football: you take showers together, get dirty and work hard to beat your opponent. I'm glad you got to experience that for the holidays. Also, thanks for putting that Anoynomous guy in place, so I didn't have to. I don't like using profanity in my posts. :)

6:33 PM  

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