"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

The call of the Soldier

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I’ve written about this many times previously – the particular motivation of the soldier and how different the attitude is from what most people might think. Specifically with respect to awards for bravery, most soldiers I have met are quite self-depreciating and even seem embarassed by the attention. The most common response I’ve seen many times is something like, “I was doing my duty. Anyone else would have done the same.”

That attitude is one that transcends time, as I’ve read it again and again in historic accounts. My great uncle, who won the Military Medal for valour in the Scheldt campaign…said it was not him, but rather, ‘the boys’ who were the real heroes. David Currie, who won the Victoria Cross in the Normandy campaign, said the thanks had to go to his men.

So when a local person wants to rename a roadway, “Hero’s Way”, the soldiers are somewhat dismissive. We don’t train to be heroes, we train to do our job so we don’t let our buddies down when things get tough. This is one reason why crimes involving trust are dealt with so quickly and harshly in military units. How can you trust someone with your life, if you can’t trust them with your bank card (or your wife)?

I was just reading this neat book on the experiences of a UK ATO (ammunition technical officer) working as a bomb specialist in Iraq (Eight Lives Down, Chris Hunter). There was a time I seriously considered following that career route. He offers this prayer, which he titles the ‘bomb tech prayer’:

If fate is against me, and I’m killed,
so be it, but make it quick and painless.
If I’m wounded, don’t let me be crippled.
But above all, don’t let me f–k up the task.

That rings so true to my experience as a soldier.


Written by sameo416

June 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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