Monday, July 13, 2015

Circle the wagons

Over all of my military years, I always made clear the point of demarcation from military to civilian worlds of mine. Coming from a non-military family in a non-military area, the boundaries were plainly obvious. As I go farther down my timeline away from the military, things start to fade. Details, names, locations, policies - all get fuzzy around the edges. Even things I took for granted as being burned into my memory forever start to become victims of an internal game of telephone. Our memories are imperfect storage methods.

I've made no secret about how much I love being home, yet miss all we did in the military. It was the best 10 years that I'm glad are over, is how I phrase it. A hell of an adventure, that eventually just ran out of road and I moved home. But there's a brotherhood that is undeniable and can't be beat. Everyone knows it. Military friends from all over the country descended on Northern NJ for the wedding just one month and one day ago. They were all fast friends, despite that some of them had never met. Officer, enlisted, from the 609th Air Communications Squadron to the 338 Training Squadron, supervisors, and peers; they blended together. There is something about camouflage and squadrons called units in there, but a good metaphor escapes me.

None of that is the point, but a frame of reference to how we are family. A new friend at the new job has a brother in the Army Reserves. She casually asked if I had any pointers to help him with his resume. He's making a career switch and having a time with balancing the civilian and military portions. Do I have pointers? I have more than that. I'll send my resume, look at his and ask around about some such website that delineates all that you do and are in the military.

So tonight I asked on Facebook. The results spoke for themselves. Out of the woodwork came, once again, people from all corners of my military family with links and advice and how-tos. I sent a FB friend request to the girl from work so I could tag her and share the information. She, in turn, tagged her brother.

Then my great friend Matt offered his resume to her brother as reference and email addresses were exchanged.

That's what we do. No matter if you've been in for 5 years or out for 20, we're veterans. We've done it all, some at the same time and some separated by decades, but that doesn't matter. We form a protective bubble around our own. We encapsulate one another and support. We circle the wagons. Strangers aren't strangers. Our camouflage threads are our common threads.

Justine was over the top appreciative with a million Thank You's. What many don't realize is that for the rest of us, this is a rare opportunity, that only gets rarer as the distance gets longer, for us to be a unit again. We revel in the idea of popping to virtual attention, focusing our gaze on a target and seeing a mission through to completion - together.

That five minutes of link sharing and commenting was the same portal back to SSgt Viglione like a familiar scent whisks you to a childhood memory.

Hoorah, Oorah, Hooah and Hooyah!