What makes a service member?
The answer to this question is simple: the training to kill for your country.
Now, I don’t imagine this is what many have in mind and, yes, this reality gets overshadowed by the fact that very, very few Service Members (Smbrs) actually fire their weapon in combat.
But la-di-dah everybody gets trained on how to do it.
I remember a speech that was given to us by the command sergeant major the day before we were to qualify with the rifle in Basic.
He said a lot of things, but one thing I will always remember was when he said, once a soldier, always a soldier. If you don’t know what HOOAH means… that is what it means.
Now, like I said, everybody gets trained to use a weapon, but not everybody uses one again or is even any good at it in the first place.
For some firing a weapon is a challenge.
During mobilization, we all had to qualify before we could go down range. I didn’t have a problem, but the full bird next to me did. Haha. Officers. Gotta love’em.
Anyway, my first sergeant asked me if I wanted to fire again, and being a gun hog, I said sure.
“One thing, Corporal King” he said to me in a quiet voice, “why don’t you shoot a couple of the 250 and 300 meter targets in the Colonels lane. We gotta look out for each other, HOOAH?”
I smiled and obliged.
Now the point I am trying to make here is that all Smbrs are alike in this fashion. We are trained to go to extremes for God and Country. These extremes have far reaching consequences.
If you have ever drank too much or done any drugs you might understand this more than the laymen. The higher the highs, the lower the lows.
For us Smbrs, we have been trained to go farther than civilians. We have all jumped into the rabbit hole. Some travel further than others, but we all jump.
I wish I had understood this better before I went to Iraq.
I would have been satisfied if someone would have explained it to me when I got back.
But I don’t think many people get the fact that all things exist inside certain parameters. And when those parameters are pushed they are gonna come back around.
Simple example: did you know that Smbrs returning from deployment had 13% more at-fault accidents, compared with their driving record before deployment? Now nobody is ever really going to know for sure why this is the case, but it makes my point.
Driving in a combat zone pushes the parameters of normal. It behooves all us Smbrs to understand this and be prepared to adjust when the other side comes around during transition.
I have mentioned this before and you can be sure I’m going to mention it again, but the absolute best way to practice the balance of offsetting parameters is breathing.
Every one of us was trained to use our breath as a tool to shoot. Well, for at least the next two years worth of Stanzas from the Art of Peace, I am going to be talking about how to use your breath, not just to transition, but for the rest of your life.
Your breath is an example of the parameters that hold the friggin universe together.
When you are frantic or fired up, your breath is moving fast.
When you’re dead your breath is still.
When you punch something, your breath solidifies your core which generates your power.
When you dance or connect with someone in more intimate ways, your breath becomes fluid.
When you inhale your body expands.
When you exhale it contracts.
When you connect your mind to your breath and your breath to the motion of your trigger finger you are centered and can easily hit a target 300 meters away.
If your mind and breath are divided, you can’t hit shit.
If you’re a civilian, understand how far we Smbrs are trained to go.
Don’t be afraid, just remember that our parameters are wider than yours.
The seventh Stanza of The Art of Peace is: