Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Musings on Joining the Military

As I hurtle towards my graduation into the real world, I look towards my future and options to set myself on the right path towards it. The economy sucks, and for whatever reason I haven't the slightest luck in job hunting (other than the nice folks at Tandemkross who came across some of my work and expressed interest in my helping the company as a contract designer), and a boulder of student debt looms over my head. If I can snag a proper engineering job, I can marathon what debt I have out of existence in a year or two. But it's always good to have a plan B. For me, that plan B is presently the National Guard (or possibly one of the reserves).

All my life, people have assumed I would go into the military. Not because of any strong family tradition, although entering the service is quite common within my family and friends, but simply because of my personality and motivations. When I work out, I do so not for appearance or health benefits; I work out for the express purpose of increasing my combat performance. Fighting, in all its forms, comes to me with terrifying ease. As a small child, I went to the adult classes because the other kids posed no challenge. I fought on equal terms against the adults, even those many times my size, weight, and rank. Later in life, after a prolonged period of inactivity, I returned. Having just worked out to the extent that my legs could barely hold me (going either direction up stairs nearly caused my legs to give out with every step), out of shape, and out of practice, I fought every opponent to a clear draw despite their best efforts. Guns, knives, it matters not the form, they all come to me as naturally as any trainer could ever hope. I even have the opinions of several medical professionals that I am incredibly tough.
Should I choose to enlist, I intend to aim for special forces. I neither care for nor want any accolades or acknowledgements, it would simply be a waste of my talents and capabilities not to. Physically and mentally, I can withstand that which few others can, which in my mind makes it my duty to do so.

And yet, I hesitate. I have no fear of basic training, indeed much of the experience is something I would gladly pay to receive. I have no fear of being sent to face the enemy, for I am more at ease in combat than many social situations. What then holds me back? The problem is twofold; The first is a problem I've heard of from nearly everyone who has served in recent history, arbitrary rules set by upper brass that are at minimum stupid, if not outright dangerous. Problems like those described here. The second is the present political climate. When I swear an oath, I take it seriously, and I fear the chance of being ordered to violate my oath of enlistment should I take it. I will do my duty and refuse an order that I cannot obey without violating my oath, but I'm well aware that I am distinctly unlikely to earn myself any friends in doing so. The USA and what it stands for is well worth fighting for, but service to the government as it stands may not be the best means to do so.

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