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5 Life Lessons The Army Taught Me About Getting Ahead
For a lot of people, joining the Army means the first time they've ever had to wash their own laundry or mop a floor. I remember hearing a female soldier in basic training ask where she was supposed to put the detergent in the dryer. However, throughout my time in the Army so far, I have learned a lot about who I am, how I work, and what it takes to get motivated.
The Army isn't just a place where soldiers learn warrior tasks and battle drills. It's where many of us learn to be an adult. The Army taught me to work with others, to be a leader, and the following very important lessons about life.
1. You won't get anywhere without a dash of endurance.
On countless occasions, I have been asked to do things that were challenging for me. Sometimes it was to beat my best two-mile run time, and other times, it was simply to stay awake in class after two hours of sleep. We are constantly called upon to do things that take exceptional endurance. If you can't make it through, you won't succeed. The only option is to keep your head up. You have to run faster, push harder, and most importantly, drink water.
2. A little dirt never really hurt anyone.
I went to basic training in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in late January when it was so windy that my cheeks were tinged with red from wind burn until graduation. When we ate meals out in the field, there was more dirt in the food than there was salt or pepper. I remember one particular instance where a slice of bread flew off my plate entirely. I was so hungry that I wasn't about to let it go to waste. I chased it down, wiped off most of the dirt, and then ate it anyway. I probably ate more dirt in that three-month period than I did food, and I don't seem to be any worse for wear.
3. There is more to family than blood.
There is nothing like the quick bonds that are created in the military. Being a part of the military is like having the biggest family in the world. I have couches across the country I can sleep on at any time if I need to. I have life-long friends that I will never forget. We support each other through anything and everything. The people I’ve met and connected with continue to play a huge role in who I am becoming. I can't even imagine where I would be today without my Army family.
4. Pay attention to detail.
This might sound a bit “hooah-hooah,” but honestly, it’s true. As a reservist, I have a civilian career. I worked prior to being in the Army and I wasn’t ever a bad employee, but learning to pay attention to detail has completely transformed my ability to complete a task the right way the first time. I stand out among my civilian peers because commands don’t simply go in one ear and out the other. I listen, I back brief, and I do the work that needs to be done properly the first time. It’s amazing how many fewer mistakes you make when you simply pay attention.
5. Your career is not out of your hands.
I learned the hard way that there is only one person who is responsible for me and my career --- me. If I don't follow up on my leave forms or check to make sure that award I was up for was actually submitted, I might never get to where I want to be. If you put your career in someone else's hands, they just might drop it. I'm sure my leadership tires of me calling them up, but what happens to me matters. The Army is no small institution and things commonly get lost in the shuffle; learning to keep track of my records and ensuring that what I need done is, in fact, completed has been an invaluable part of my training as a soldier.
Most of the time, we learn things the hard way. I’ve had to make a lot of mistakes to figure out exactly how to persevere and make the most of my military career. If I learned anything at all from being a soldier, it’s that success comes to those who “embrace the suck” and learn something while they’re doing it.
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - U.S. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said on Friday a Navy SEAL convicted of battlefield misconduct should face a board of peers weighing whether to oust him from the elite force, despite President Donald Trump's assertion that he not be expelled.
"I believe the process matters for good order and discipline," Spencer told Reuters, weighing in on a confrontation between Trump and senior Navy officials over the outcome of a high-profile war-crimes case.
A military jury in July convicted Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher of illegally posing for pictures with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter but acquitted him of murder in the detainee's death. Gallagher also was cleared of charges that he deliberately fired on unarmed civilians.
The Air Force has identified the two airmen killed in a training accident on Thursday as Lt. Col John "Matt" Kincade, 47, and 2nd Lt. Travis B. Wilkie, 23.
Kincade and Wilkie were killed at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma during a training mission involving T-38C Talon aircraft, the Air Force said. Two T-38s were training in formation when the incident occurred during the landing phase, according to a press release.
A Marine lance corporal has become the first female Marine in history to graduate the Basic Reconnaissance Course, earning the military occupational specialty of 0321 Reconnaissance Marine.
Lance Cpl. Alexa Barth completed the 12-week course on Nov. 7, said Maj. Kendra Motz, a Marine spokeswoman. Barth previously graduated from the Corps' Infantry Training Battalion-East, earning the MOS of 0311 Rifleman.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- By day, Arik Rangel works as a U.S. Coast Guard operations specialist third class, but when the spotlight hits, his stage name and personalty -- Arik Cavalli -- takes over.
Rangel, born in San Marcos, Tx., was raised by a single mother with three sisters. He didn't want his mother to have to support him after high school, so he honored her and his country by joining the U.S. Air Force in 2012.
He worked as a senior airman in the Knowledge Operations Management field and was in the Air Force reserves for three years. In 2015, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard as an operations specialist and is currently stationed at Fort Wadsworth.
A new documentary tells the heroic story of the first Marine to earn the Medal of Honor since Vietnam
More than 15 years ago, Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham gave his life to save his fellow Marines on the streets of Husaybah, Iraq when he leaped upon a grenade. In 2007, he became the first Marine since the Vietnam War to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
In the years since his death, his story of courage and sacrifice has been told and re-told. His Medal of Honor citation is read to Marine recruits during the Crucible at boot camp. And his name adorns the USS Jason Dunham, where his dress blue uniform rests in a clear display case on the quarterdeck, a solemn shrine to a young man who gave his life for his brothers in arms.
Now, Marines who served with Dunham are sharing his story in their own words, and a small group of military veterans and film makers are helping them do it as part of The Gift, a crowd-funded documentary film chronicling his life, and legacy.