Mike Denny is an Army National Guard aviation officer and civilian procurement manager. Previously, he served as a field artillery officer with two deployments to eastern Afghanistan. Mike also writes for Red Team Journal on red teaming and alternative analysis. He currently lives in Central Pennsylvania with his wife and daughter.
Most of my adult life, both in and out of the Army, I dreaded Mondays. Whether you are a cubicle dweller or just released from a Friday final formation, that feeling of freedom on a Friday night is unmistakeable. By Sunday night after Games of Thrones, the creeping dread of Monday is coming full force. I found myself in a self-defeating circle a while back and found a way to sidestep this issue and embrace a new way of viewing Mondays: by making Monday your day to start out crushing your week.
As I sit here comfortably at my desk nursing a scotch in a plastic cup after my guard unit Christmas party, I can’t help but feel nostalgia for my time spent away from home. While I wouldn’t trade Christmas morning at home with my wife and daughter for anything, I will forever recall those Christmases spent overseas fondly. Surprisingly, the things I miss the most about Christmas in Afghanistan are the same things that I missed when I was stuck there among my fellow Army members.
Halloween is rapidly approaching. It used to be an extravaganza of creepy frivolity, unfortunately the bad guys of the world now require the hovering of helicopter parents checking for razors in their child’s candy — though as a kid, I was always sure this was just a means for parents to steal the best treats. Recently everything from moving trick-or-treating away from Halloween night to prevent hoodlums from wreaking havoc, to the dangers of invisible body suit costumes make parents and communities freak out.
Military personnel are a crafty bunch. They surprise their commanders and buddies with many good — and, let’s be honest, some bad — innovations. Some of these battlefield creations even surprise the teams of scientists and industry professionals designing military equipment. When faced with limited resources, the battlefield innovations of the rank-and-file troops have become a staple of military kits. Weapon systems and generals don’t win wars alone; it is the dog-tired foot soldier who eventually helps the victor cross the finish line.
Time served in the military teaches us many good habits worth emulating throughout the rest of our days. These serve in both in the civilian workforce and in our personal lives. When it comes time for you to transition out, consider taking these habits with you.