As I'm sure 99.9% of this forum don't know I'm a serving member of the military. I wouldn't usually go into great details about who I serve for and what my job involves because I like to try and keep my home/work life seperate from my views on wrestling and other topics on this site. However having just read through a good few real personal accounts of peoples problems/opinions on this rant section I thought it was only right to share with you guys my story so far at 21 year's of age, so if this thread proves to be successful in inspiring/giving insight/opening peoples eyes to the world in a bigger picture then I'll be happy.
Build up to Going on My Tour of Duty
I left high school at the tender age of 17 and after a few failed attempts at getting a career wise job ie an apprenticeship in plumbing, bricklaying or Joinery my confidence was knocked. At the time (I believe it was 2007) the army were doing a big recruitment drive in my home city. Within a few weeks after careful consideration I jumped in feet first and signed up to enroll in basic training. After 6 months of devolping from a young school leaver to a basic infantry soldier, I passed out of training. To this day its still my fondest achievement
6 months of being told I wasn't going to hack it off my peers and drill sergeants likewise it was great on the day of my pass off to hold my head up high.
After this I moved swiftly to my Battalion and company. I kept my head down and worked hard. Before long we began pre deployment training for Afghanistan. I couldn't wait to get out to the badlands and really make a difference. Don't get me wrong I was shitting myself at the prospect of getting shot at or getting involved in any serious battle but any soldier thats still to do a tour would be lying if they told you otherwise. I had my family and friends back home but I was single and didn't mind the idea of dying in a hail of bullets and glory at the time (stupid I know, but I'm being frank in this)
The Tour itself
I flew out to Afghanistan in early 2010. It was still Winter there so acclimatizing wasn't really a problem. We settled in the main camp for two weeks before we headed out the front gate into the danger zone on Feb 1st. Our first operation was our most hard fought in the whole 6 months campaign. We had alot of guys injured via gunshot wounds but thank god no one died in that first month of fighting. We were told that the Taliban would be tame and in small numbers during the winter but this was wrong, they gave us hell and we returned it back to them. I won't go into that part of the tour too much, I had a few close shaves, a few skidmarks in my pants and a fair bit of action. Amongst my friends and brothers in arms who were out at the time that first month was dubbed 'the fighting phase'.
I suppose the next 5 months of the tour was the 'Aiding phase'. As we helped the Afghan army and Police from our small camp in a relatively tame region of the country. We would patrol the streets and interact with the locals, helping them with funding for crops, safety and treats for the kids. But this brings me onto my point. They never accepted us in their country. I can see why, people could argue that we have no reason to be in Afghanistan. I firmly believe from being there we have improved not only the safety of the civillians there but also the standard of life. We don't choose to be there, politicians make wars, young men fight them.
But this isn't what annoyed me about not being accepted, it was the fact that no matter whatever we done for these people and no matter how much we gave them, when we asked the interprator to ask them why they disliked us their answer was the same...' they are not muslims'. The Taliban are muslims...and thats what the politicians don't realise when they launch their 'hearts and minds' campaigns. We cannot win over people with such strict beliefs. We as the western world are lesser people because we don't share the same beliefs in these peoples eyes. And that is why we will never win this war no matter how much effort our great brothers and sisters out there put in.
Don't get me wrong I loved my time over in Afghanistan. It was a simple life of patrolling, sentry duties and shitting in a silver bag. No worries of bills, Monday morning blues or any of lifes other inconviences in that sense. I went out as a boy and came back as a man. But to me the people of Afghanistan don't want our help anymore and we don't need to lose anymore heroes out there. Hopefully one day we are all home safely, I pray for that day to come quickly.
I've signed off from active duty, in one year I will be a civillian working a normal job. I'll always look back on my time in the military with great pride but I refuse to go back out to a country and risk my life for people that see me as lesser because I don't share their beliefs. Any questions I'll be glad to answer and I've got a thick skin so if you disagree with any of my thread let me know.