Thursday, March 16, 2006

On Frequent Rotations and Morale


Matt, Engineer Zarar, AJ, Me and the Mayor of Charikar

Part of the problems I am having right now might stem from something a lot of servicemembers might wish for... short rotations. Not mine/ours, mind you - but those of other services, and other nations. And not for the reason you think. I was not jealous or resentful of USAF 3-4 month tours, USMC 6 month rotations, or the 4 months at a time the RAF Regiment spent in theater. What bothered me was that I formed friendships with these people, only to have them leave. Time and time again, I would befriend someone like LTC Couchman of the New Zealand Army, only to have him and his troops rotate away...while I was still there.


Jamie and MSG Morris


Rich and a friend

The RAF Regiment officers were the hardest to deal with. Four excellent fellows; Adam,
Rich, Matt and Jamie - each one a terrific officer and skilled at their profession. You couldn't help but like them. However, after 120 days - they rotated out. It was very hard to go through that.

SGT Jalil, Adam, Abdul "Snoopdog" Satur and posse.

The same thing happened with rotations of Army units - platoons I would patrol with would end up moving locations. I would show up for a pre-patrol briefing and suddenly realize there was nobody left that I knew anymore.

3/116th INF

All this has left me almost pathologically wary of casual friendship. It has not helped me in my neighborhood. It has not been an advantage at work either.

I had to put this out - if you know anyone that has been in this situation, you may now have a bit of an understanding of why they might act this way.

7 Comments:

Anonymous A Pixie said...

Major John... I went to 13 schools in 12 grades... I live in a state that is HIGHLY transient (no one is from here and no one stays). I feel what you are speaking to. The other side of that coin is that it makes us loyal as a DOG to those who do remain.

Happy St. Patrick's day.

Slainte!

10:15 AM  
Blogger Saoirse said...

Having come from an abusive home, it's trust for me. Meeting people on a superficial level is easy. Letting them in my home or my life. Very difficult.

Each person we meet though has purpose. Whether it's a stranger, we smile at, or someone we only spend a certain amount of time with, then they leave.

It's not the length of time we spend with people. It is how we utilise that time.

Letting go is difficult. There is always the unknown. What comes next? Faith in Christ helps me. Because I know if he is leading, wherever I go, whomever I meet could be an amazing experience.

Cherish those we have near. Pray for those who have moved on.

Happy St. Patrickd Day!!

12:34 PM  
Blogger Mighty Quinn said...

Well, speaking as an old friend (since I was in 3rd grade), I can say that those fine chaps from elsewhere should count themselves lucky to have known you - if only for a few months.

Similarly, you were fortunate to know such people for a few months - kinda like a perk for serving abroad. Just think of all the assholes you're saddled with knowing for years on end. Not to mention in-laws, co-workers, and neighbors.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Iago said...

I'm not sure if this will help or not but I felt that it took me about a year before I could shake Afghanistan out of my psyche and interact with people 'normally'. I've been home almost two years now and I can finally say I'm back to normal (well, at least back to the way I was before I left). So the good news is that things will snap back to normal, the bad news is that it takes awhile.

It is unfortunate that we loose track with the people we worked so closely with over there and I can relate completely with what you said. It just seems to be one of the occupational hazards of life in the military.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Inner Prop said...

You can talk to me at length when I see you in a couple of weeks so I will make with the levety:

They're called "single serving friends" Tyler Derden.

Hey, I thought you said you had nothing. How many posts and how many NEW photos have you added since then? If this is what you call nothing then the rest of us Donuts should be damn ashamed indeed (also you should have left that post title alone so I could have used it).

I think you got nothing to post like you're unable to make friends. Your pessimism is showing.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with you. It is a normal response from what you have shared on the situation. A person can only take some much before they go numb.

Things will get better. You realize that something is wrong, you know what it is, now you need to either take that first step to change it or just be content at where you are.

Each great journey starts with that first step.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

I have been aware of many problems I brought home with me - and I have sought help too. This particular one was simply a thing I could not express very well until recently. End of public service announcement, heh heh :)

10:59 AM  

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