Sunday, May 31, 2020

" The Frozen Chosen"

Over half of my life was spent working with members and families of the 10th Mountain Division.

They survive in every shade of the skin rainbow, every spectrum of the spiritual scale, the span of their diversity is staggering.

But they key concept is that they survive.

They survive life events that would cripple many people, for they experience more than just the births and deaths, marriages and divorces, graduations and new homes.

They start with boot camp, ten weeks when they leave home and do their initial training in the military.

This is not like going away to college because they can't call home whenever they get lonely, or need money, and they can't leave to go to a concert or a sporting event (or home to get their laundry done and a real meal).

Their days are filled with physical training that rivals that of the most extreme personal trainer, as well as education in a variety of disciplines.

And that is where most movies that portray the "Army experience" end. But it isn't truly the end, just the beginning.

After boot camp comes AIT - Advanced Individual Training. Depending upon the individual soldier's MOS (job description), this can last anywhere from four weeks to a year.

Now although this segment of a soldier's training is more like college, don't ever lose sight of the fact that a member of the military is considered on duty 24/7/365. They are at work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

That not only means that they work that schedule, so do their family members. Once they have signed on the dotted line, they have sacrificed their celebrations and personal life events to serve.

But the sacrifice doesn't end there.

Once the solider receives a duty assignment, they move there, often across the country, to a new home, new climate, unfamiliar faces.

This post is titled "The Frozen Chosen" because Fort Drum, NY has affectionately been renamed that in military circles - "Those who get Chosen, get Frozen".

Many of the soldiers stationed at Fort Drum have come from far sunnier climates where PT (physical training) gets cancelled for snow on the ground. In NNY, however, it is "business as usual" until the snow is above your waist.

They weren't aware when they purchased their vehicle that AWD or 4WD was a better option than a nice stereo package, and it makes driving from October to May interesting for them until they get acclimated.

But those are little things compared to the deployments.

Most of you can't imagine being separated from your friends and family for weeks, let alone the months these soldiers experience. They are allowed home for a "block leave" (approximately two weeks) every four to six months, and sometimes almost half of that leave is taken up with the travel time.

They work in areas of the world where contact by phone or technology is limited by resources and time differential, as well as any adverse conditions where they are deployed.

Still don't realize who these guys are? Just Google 10th Mountain Division and you will see the places that they are currently stationed (and have been continuously for years).

And now they have been called up, mobilized, and asked to do the unthinkable

They are now on call to be stationed in their own country, putting their lives at risk at the hands of fellow citizens to protect fellow citizens.

These are the brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces and cousins of those both wreaking havoc and being victimized by the destruction.

They are going to a duty station to deal with situations that they have seen in multiple countries around the world with primitive and oppressive conditions, but this is in their own country.

Once again, they are putting their lives on the line for their country, but now that life is at risk by their fellow countrymen.

If this isn't a wakeup call, that our heroes are being asked to serve once more under circumstances none of you would willingly face, then there is no hope for you.

Enough is enough!

You have dishonored George Floyd, you have dishonored your neighbors, your employers, your friends with the theft, arson, and destruction.

Will you now dishonor those who have willingly put their lives on the line for you at home and abroad?

Think about it!

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