Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What a Quandry



I went to my "Board" on Monday. Someone made a change in the process and it was to be a "paper board" meaning; no one need show up, only our applications and packets would be reveiwed. However "someone" didn't notify the secretary who made our appointments and several of us showed up anyway. So I drove all that way in traffic, with a migraine (nerves) only to be told "sorry!" LOL. Some things never change!

Well with my board over, and waiting to hear what decisions have been made I have been thinking more about my Army National Guard career.

When I was in the Navy I pretty much worked hard, kept a low profile and tried not to attract too much attention. I made rank in the average amount of time for the Navy. I reenlisted at my 4 year mark for another 4 years, spending 8 years total in the Navy. I enjoyed my time but I knew at my 8 year mark I needed to make a decision. Either stay in and make a career out of the Service or get out. If I stayed in, I knew I would have to make some changes in how I conducted myself. I would have to start looking at my service as a career and not just a job. I would have to be more proactive about making rank, etc. I'd have to grow up.

I spent the last 15 years as a civilian. I have changed a lot in those 15 years. I now have children and if that doesn't change your perspective, nothing will. I reenlisted in the Guard with the vision to make this a career. I regretted not finishing up in the Navy and always wanted a second chance to do it right.

Well now I have my second chance.

This time I am taking it more seriously. Where do I want to be in 10 years? Where do I want this career to take me? How can I better serve my country this time? How can I better serve those people assigned under me as their leader? I have been doing a lot of reflecting.

As a recruiter I know I can do a good job and make rank pretty quickly if I make mission. But....but. There is this little nagging doubt hanging there. But.

I think about where I want to be in 10 years. I want to be a SGM ( Sergeant Major), at least a 1SG (1st Sergeant), possibly a CSM (Command Sgt Major). Aim high right?? I can see acheiving 1SG but, CSM? I don't see it happening unless I deploy. Period.

I also don't see anyone taking me seriously until I do deploy. If I was a junior enlisted under a SGT who had never deployed.... or under a SGT that had deployed... well.. I don't know.

So while I am waiting to hear the decision on my RRNCO application... I am toying with the idea of voluntering for deployment. I have already told my husband that if I get passed over for the Recruiter postion I will be joining a unit close to here, that just so happens to be getting ready to deploy.

I guess this should be an easy decision but it just isn't. If I was single; no kids? I would be on a plane to Iraq tomorrow. But I am not single and I have two children. Even then... I feel that if I don't go ahead now...I will "miss the party". Yet I have everyone asking me "What will Grace do if you have to deploy? How will Joshua handle it?"

I feel like a fake, a sham. Soldier, who me? Not.

My cousin joined the Guard right after me. He is assigned to a MP unit. He is joining another unit that is headed to Iraq. His wife is cheering him on. No soul searching for him, just "It's my duty". But the first thing out of everyone's mouth when they hear that I have enlisted is "you're not deploying are you??" Why this double standard for women?

Well this much is clear to me. IF I don't get picked up for Recruiter...I AM going to VOLUNTEER to go to IRAQ. Period. I joined to be a soldier. I joined to help DEFEND my country. I joined because it is the right thing to do. I joined because I don't ever want to look at footage of the World Trade Center attack on September 11th again and feel helpless. I want my children to look back and say they are proud of a mom who was a small part of the War on Terror.

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