Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Boot Again In The Civilian World


Most veterans and military personnel remember their first military training experience with pride and dread. Pride in successfully completing their first military experience and dread from being so new and unknowledgeable when they got to their first unit. However, by only remembering the negative consequences of being a “boot,” we forget what being a boot really did for us to make our military career successful.

I remember when I got to my first unit in Korea as a brand new 2nd lieutenant or “Butter Bar.” I was fresh from Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course and Ranger school at Fort Benning in Georgia and knew enough to realize that I didn’t know anything. When I got to my first platoon, a 4.2-inch mechanized heavy mortar platoon, my training really started when the privates, specialists and NCOs in my unit began training me on all the equipment, weapons and tactics. They taught me how to fire all the weapons assigned to the platoon, licensed me on all the vehicles, and made sure I passed the mortar gunnery exam. For every new unit I went to, I repeated this process with the enlisted and noncommissioned officers who provided me the knowledge that ultimately made me successful in that position. When I look back at my military career, what made me a good officer in infantry and special operations units was this foundation that I received as a boot. Indeed, I think a large part of my success in combat operations was due to the fact that I knew intimately what teams on the ground could and could not do.

Having a successful business career and a successful transition means many times going back to become and succeed as a boot again. Before I started my current job in the railroad industry, I led and coordinated a 30-plus multinational, multi-service special operations planning team in Iraq. When I started with my current company, I was in charge I was a boot again. So what did I do? I learned the entire range of positions, what each did, how it operated, and how each position achieved success. After that, I was promoted to lead a small team and I repeated the process I learned as a boot in the military. Today, much of my success comes from those early days as a boot where I learned and perfected the basics.

When we look through post-military career job listings, many of us jump straight to senior manager or director positions and miss those entry-level management positions that will make us extraordinarily successful in our future career. Next time, before you apply or interview for a position, check out the CEO, CFO, and COO biographies on the corporate web site. Without a doubt, you will see they started in entry-level positions, learned and perfected the basics, and then moved up.

Related: Here are 7 awesome resources your transition class didn’t offer.

Success in both military and civilian careers can come from being a boot where you learn the skills, culture, and leadership style to be successful. Bottom line: engage and become a boot again in your new career pursuit. Military skills and leadership style combined with a great attitude and a willingness to learn is what defines success from the bottom up and will immeasurably propel your career.

Photo by Cpl. Caitlin Brink
Photo: Lance Cpl. Taylor Cooper

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Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.

"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.

"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.

When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.

The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Iran says it will exceed limits on its enriched uranium stockpiles agreed in its 2015 nuclear deal, the latest escalation in tensions after the US accused Iran of sabotaging oil tankers last week.

Under the 2015 deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — Iran agreed with the Obama administration and several European states to limit uranium production.

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