Man…..today I am writing my 40th Blog (actually my 45th, if you want to get technical, but who’s counting). This is an unbelievable moment for me. I am happy that I set a goal and continue to accomplish that goal every single day. I know I say it all the time, but all the support you guys give me, keeps me motivated to continue writing. I can’t say Thank You enough. Thank You to all that take the time out of your busy lives just to read what I have on my mind. You guys don’t know how much that means to me. It is a privilege and an honor to have friends like you that support me in whatever I do. I know a lot of you can’t read every single post, but when you do read a post I honestly feel that I have accomplished something. I can say this with confidence, that I don’t take any of you who have supported me from day one for granted. Again, Thank You for the support. Now on to today’s post.
I was messing with my cousin today because he posted a picture of the Iron Mike Statue at the Infantry Museum. All my Army peeps know what I am talking about. I said to him that after 14 successful years in the Army and having a chance to work with the Infantry and Cavalry, if I had the chance go back in the fight, I would have to choose the Cavalry. If you ain’t Cav, you ain’t sh…….When I said that to him I was joking, because he was an Infantrymen (Mortar), but then I started thinking that the statement that I made, I feel is true.
I’m not saying anything is bad or I have any ill feelings toward the Infantry, its just that my experience with the Cavalry was an unforgettable one. Of course, having an IED blow up under your vehicle and having the Vehicle Commander destroy your precious Raven will stick with you for the rest of your life. That’s not the reason why I chose the Cavalry. I chose the Cavalry, because it didn’t matter what your MOS (Military Occupational Skill) was, you were welcomed with open arms. Maybe it was just because of the Leaders I had. I don’t know, but if I had to do it again, it would definitely be with the Cavalry.
My time spent with the infantry wasn’t bad, it’s just a different world. They care about you, as do the Cavalry, but it’s just different. It’s hard for me to explain. While assigned and deploying with both the Infantry and Cavalry, I performed the same duties. My actual MOS was 74D (Chemical Operations Specialist). In Garrison and while deployed I was always in Headquarters Platoon and being in HQ Platoon we had a lot of responsibilities. Compared to the rest of the Platoons we were the smallest. We didn’t go on as many patrols as the Combat Arms guys, but we did our thing in the TOC (Tactical Operations Center). We worked hand in hand with the Commander and 1SG. We were the ones on the radio giving or receiving critical mission essential information, Troop movement updates on the battlefield, etc.
While assigned to the Infantry I was on an 8 to 12 hour TOC rotation, depending on if the Commander or 1SG wanted to go out on patrol. I was the Commander’s Driver, so if he decided he wanted to go out with a Platoon, the rotation had to be adjusted accordingly. At times, it sucked because you’re out all night, with no sleep, just enough time to grab a bite to eat and jump back in the rotation. While I was doing it, I hated it, but now reflecting on it, it wasn’t that bad. The reason I say that it wasn’t that bad is because we were not there to sleep and have fun, we were there representing the United States of America and fighting this war on terrorism. In addition to being in charge of a TOC shift, I still had to perform the duties of my assigned MOS. Yes, it did suck, but it only made me a better NCO. Of course we complained, but there was always someone to bring you back to reality by saying, there is someone out there that has it worse than we do. Instantly, that statement brings you right back. My wife didn’t like dealing with the other wives because they did a lot of gossiping and she wasn’t in to that. As far as senior Leadership goes, if you’ve been in the military, there is a distinct difference between an Infantry Commander and a Cavalry Commander. The same goes for Command Sergeants Major too. Keep in mind, this what “I” experienced. An Infantry Commander, in my opinion is all about speed. When I say speed this is what I mean, you plan the mission, get your assets lined up, execute the mission, once you’re on the Target, you want to get in, get out as quick as you can. You never wanted to stay on an Objective too long, just because then you are setting yourselves up for a good ol’ fire fight. Another thing with the Infantry, I felt that there is no free thinking. My experience, everything had to be done by the book. It doesn’t matter what the date on the book was, if it’s in black and white, that’s what is getting done. Of course, some times things were “adjusted” either because it was the logical thing to do (not many of those times) or a Field Grade Officer wanted it done his way. As I said before, this is MY experience and I am not saying that everyone’s experience is the same or am I trying to put a bad vibe out there about the Infantry. I did enjoy my time with the Infantry, met a lot a great people that I am still in contact to this day. I learned a lot about myself as well as learned how to deal with different types of people. I was always under the impression that as an NCO that you could treat everybody the same way, in a way you can, but a good NCO that cares about his soldiers knows his soldiers and knows how to get them to do what you need them to do. Sometimes, of course, you have to be the asshole, but when a mission needs to be done, it will get done. There is not if, ands or buts about it.
When I received orders saying that I was going to a Cavalry Squadron, the first thing I thought about was Helicopters. I was hype! Then I did some research on the Squadron I was going to be assigned to and saw that it wasn’t that type of Squadron, I was crushed. Immediately, I thought it was going to be the Infantry experience all over again. My first experience being in Europe was HORRIBLE, but that’s a different post in itself. I was shuffled around once I got to my unit. The Troop I was assigned to was an Infantry Company, but they didn’t need an NBC NCO. So I was assigned to another Troop, which I am GLAD my assignment was changed. You couldn’t have put together a better group of guys. My first day, I met the 1SG, whom I hated, he was an Infantryman of a Cavalry Troop, crazy, right? I know. I then met the Troop Commander, explained my adventure and he told me the only thing I need to worry about is taking care of my family. He said that he would see me in 10 days. No paperwork was done, that’s the type of Commander he was. He was an Awesome Commander. I am speaking of him in the past tense because he paid the ultimate sacrifice on November 12, 2007. He and the Gunner. The Troop’s Communications Expert was also in the vehicle, he survived. That was the worst day of our lives, but I don’t want to get off the topic of my post today. Just being around other Cavalry Scouts, they make you feel like you are one of them. I didn’t feel that way while assigned to an Infantry Unit. In an Infantry Unit, it was either you’re an Infantryman or not. If you’re in the not category, your needs were put at the bottom of all the Infantryman. Again, please remember that this is what I experienced and I am not saying that being with the Infantry is like this. Being assigned to the Cavalry was one of the greatest moments of my life. Everybody looked out for everybody. There was no groups or cliques, that’s not the way they conduct business. It doesn’t matter what your MOS is, what matters is what you bring to the table. At times I would forget that I was a 74D. I had a great time being with the Cavalry.
I did all that rambling to say this, everyone has different experiences with different MOS’s and Units. I know that I’ve said this more than once in this post, but I want to emphasize it one more time, I am in no way saying that every experience is like mine. Everyone has their preference, which is okay.
I want all of you to read and understand this statement: You are able to sit at your computer right at this moment, in a country that is free, you are free to say whatever you want to whoever you want, you are able to go wherever you want, you are free to choose who you want to be in charge of this great country, but many people take it for granted. What you don’t realize is that the LIFE of MANY Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen have paid the ultimate sacrifice and are still paying with their lives as you sit there reading this post. People take life for granted, I’m not trying to preach to you, just take a moment out of your busy lives and give those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice a moment of silence and say THANK YOU, because it’s because they paid with their life our country continues to be FREE. Remember that there are REGULARS in the military also. Because of what they do, they can’t say and do certain things because they proudly wear the uniform, but since they can’t say it, I a REGULAR will say it for them.