The Veteran Plan

No one sets out to get hurt in the military. They have a plan, and it becomes the future Veteran Plan. I mean, they do if they are a real […]
October 10, 2022

No one sets out to get hurt in the military. They have a plan, and it becomes the future Veteran Plan. I mean, they do if they are a real shitbag, but otherwise, people are generally honorable in joining the military. The United States Military produces (or they did) the best soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines the world has ever seen. These people are entirely beyond reproach and are physically fit, mentally strong, and ready to take the fight to the enemy, foreign or domestic. From a combat arms perspective, these people were the greatest of the great and worked hard to become the best to ensure they were there for each other. Wars are not about whatever it is for the people fighting. War is about the man/woman to the left and the right of the military member.

4 Types of Veterans

Over-generalization of military members puts people in four different plans people join the military for:

  1. The lifetime member.
    1. This person will serve at least twenty years in the military to get their pension and retire into obscurity. This person becomes a soldier for their dedication to God, Country, and the American Way.
  2. College-bound via the military route.
    1. This person joins the military for the GI Bill and the right to get an education on their military service. Often, these military member becomes a lifer because they can get their education in the military.
  3. Go to war or go to jail, member.
    1. This person is always in trouble and looking for a positive way to escape their current situation. Sometimes this person is sentenced to the military by a judge or is about to get into trouble, and they realize there is a better route. Often these people do not do well in the military because they have a problem with authority.
  4. GEDs and no plan member.
    1. This person has no ambition in the civilian world and/or doesn’t care about the world around them because they see no real reason to stick around. This person generally always betters their situation and becomes a leader.

Again, this is an over-generalization; of course, people can serve for other reasons, but this is the model that has been observed for decades.  However, the military member creates an air about them that people can generally see through. The plans that they have are not always what ends up happening. I served in the United States Army Infantry, and I fit in two of these. Unfortunately, I was not able to follow through with my plan. I was in the lifetime member group and the college-bound. I received a college bonus in my contract and an Airborne bonus (dependent on duty station). I served for twelve years and have had many adventures within the Army. I was going to be a lifer. I had a Special Forces assessment transfer of service all filled out. I had passed every prerequisite they required – the physical fitness, the aptitude portion, and the psychological/medical side. I opted to go to Japan with my unit instead. Fun, but silly. I could have joined an SF group that would have taken me to one of those places!

Learning to be Better

Befitting my time, I decided to finish college and return to active; unfortunately, the Army had a better plan for me. Iraq and then medical retirement. I got to the point where I could not stand at parade rest. My shoulders were toast. Before that, my wife and I had discussed returning to active duty, and we were preparing for that. It’s a great job with great benefits. Get to see the world, then blow it up! I digress; the plan was not what God had in store for me. Instead, I was medically retired, and surgeries for the next five years were what became my life. I finished college with two degrees and then became an advocate for Veterans.

As I stated earlier, no one sets out to get hurt in the military. I certainly didn’t, but it happened. Unfortunately, my story is not the only one like this. Indeed, not my veteran plan – nor what I intended. I wanted to have a career in that I didn’t have to worry about a vocation later in life and would be able to learn what I wanted to know afterward. The Lord saw to it that I got my college education while recovering from surgeries and now, I sometimes wonder what I am doing with my life. The truth is that my life has been good, but I always wonder what if…

Many Veterans…

Many Veterans get hurt in the line of service because we are taught to push ourselves to the limit, and then push past that limit for another 24 hours. Continue the mission and carry on. Finish the fight and keep going. Keep going until what, though? Well, that is where the injury takes place. A lot of the injuries are actual pain: knees that are out, shoulders that can’t sustain, back injuries, and more. The worst injuries, though, are the ones you cannot see. PTSD makes people realize that they are normal humans, not Superman; this is not the Veteran Plan. The struggle of the world on your shoulders and not feeling like anyone is there for you. This is a disaster that many Veterans deal with, regardless of whether they are in combat or not. Military service is service to our country, and many non-combat Veterans deal with survivors’ remorse because they were never in a place where they didn’t have to go to a combat zone. This is a natural and humbling experience if you think about it. They still must support the mission but in a different way.

The Veteran Plan for most people was not to stay home but instead make a difference overseas, especially after 9/11. These people signed up to serve our country in times of need and war. They extended themselves to become an asset to this nation. They subjected themselves to the same thing that Combat Veterans did – basic training and specialty schools that taught them to be someone else than they were when they joined. Most are not regimented when they join, nor can they follow orders meticulously without questioning motives or thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, people always question, but they get their mission done because it was a lawful order. Veterans often have that as a hindrance to civilian jobs because they wait for orders to come in. They wait for the answers to come through with what needs to be done. The job gets done, but then waiting till the next order of business presents itself. Small business owners want initiative and the ability to keep the business going without being told what to do. This is scary because Veterans who are their own business owners take the initiative to the next level. This needs to be explained to many veterans that it is okay to take the initiative and get the job done.

Take Initiative

It is time that Veterans take the initiative in their own lives and redo that most critical first step again. That is to reassess where they are at in their life and how they can make the next step into their future. Instead, a new employer or the Veteran Entrepreneur wants to make it big on the next step in life, whatever they are doing. We as Veterans need to edify and hold each other accountable for the actions that are taken and tell them to get the fu*% up and start being their own trailblazer. Take charge of your life because there is not an NCO in charge of your life anymore; instead, you are your own officer and are in charge of not screwing shit up.

Recapping this for the TLDR Veterans: “Get off your ass and make something of yourself! No one else is doing it for you!” Make a plan – the Veteran Plan.

The TLDR civilians: “Help your Veteran by motivating them by letting them know that it is okay to take the initiative.” Suppose it isn’t okay, a sensitive project, then that too. They are prominent people, and they can handle things. Don’t follow that nonsense about Dysfunctional Veterans. That was a lousy fad that only got worse.

Until next time create the veteran plan that makes sense to you:

PEACE

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Kenny

Christian. American. Father. Husband. Friend. Brother. Son. Grandson. Uncle. Cubs Fan. Digital.

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