When I look back over a short career as a green beret – I’m left with some vignettes that stick out more than others. There are these lingering moments you can’t escape – and will stick in the back of your mind forever. They’re less specific and real moments and more sensations and feelings captured in an instant, like a picture. So, I’ll just jot down a short list of them, not in any particular order.
Traveling and running into other operators who you have no idea why they are there, and you don’t ask. This can happen abroad and domestic. A few moments ago, because I’m traveling for work, I bumped into an old colleague I haven’t seen for years, and when I did know him, it was another country in another place. Well, we’re at the same hotel. It looks like he just woke up and is heading out for the day. I couldn’t even catch up with him but some of these military towns are small towns, and you’re bound to run into the same folks over and over again.
Traveling to new and exciting places on your own or with a small groups of colleagues. There’s little better than exploring with all expenses paid and when you’re doing it while serving. It’s a great mixture of things to make you settle in quick and feel less like a tourist and more like a visiting official – which is an exciting and fun feeling.
Traveling to places you’ve been where local shop owners, restaurants, and hotels remember you – and they’re happy your back. Rapport is king in this line of work. Your ability to be liked by other SOF guys is important, but when it comes to results on the ground, your relationship with your counterparts is the most important piece.
Regardless of what you’re doing experiencing a brotherhood when you link-up with colleagues and other Americans when abroad. This is self-explanatory, but it fosters a real sense of belonging and could turn someone who isn’t happy with their life in SOF a renewed believer.
Featured image courtesy of The Odyssey Online.