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Author Topic: Question for the military folks here...  (Read 1387 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Question for the military folks here...
« on: August 14, 2013, 01:29:14 PM »
I'm asking this question here on E, as I know we have some military personnel in our midst :)

The question I want to ask is, basically... aren't you afraid? Weren't you afraid, back when you enlisted? I mean, it's not an ordinary job. The chances of getting killed are quite high, I think. So... why enlist? It seems suicidal...

Let me be clear: I'm not criticizing you. I definitely see why the military service might seem attractive. Heck, there are times I think I would consider joining myself, were I in a better physical and mental shape (as I am, no military would touch me with a ten-foot pole... I actually asked  a recruiter about it ;D). But then, I remember the whole "getting killed" thing - and it stops me completely. I would never sign up for anything that could get me killed...

So... why did you, if I may ask?

(it's a serious question, really)

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 01:41:03 PM »
You can get hit crossing the street, or hit by a bullet some idiot shoots in the air on New Years Eve. (It's a stupid tradition down here in Jax.)

For me.. at first it was a way to get schooling and training.  I had just melted down my car engine (courtesy of a mechanic who forgot to fasten down my engine after putting in a new head gasket).

After getting in..

It's a tradition of service in my family, and in many folks I know. My grandfather fought in the 1st World War, I read his journal as he sailed as part of General Pershing's forces. My great uncle was in Bataan.. another was shot down over France on his 38th mission and hiked out via Spain. My Uncle's brother died in Vietnam before I was born. My uncle served in the Air Force for 25 years and my cousin served till ALS started to hit him.

My take. I am a Citizen. There is a need for those of us who desire to serve..to serve. I enlisted one term to make money and get skills to work with.. the rest. I did because I found a place where I could do good. I served in the Navy for 15 years, and would still be serving if I hadn't been medicaled out.  Some of my outlook is antiquated, but it's the way I was bred.

« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 01:52:31 PM by Callie Del Noire »

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 01:54:39 PM »
You can get hit crossing the street, or hit by a bullet some idiot shoots in the air on New Years Eve. (It's a stupid tradition down here in Jax.)

Yeah, I know! And stuff like that is enough to make me scared. A few years ago, I had trouble actually walking out of my home because of that... I still am afraid to cross streets with no traffic lights :(

Quote
My take. I am a Citizen. There is a need for those of us who desire to serve..to serve. I enlisted one term to make money and get skills to work with.. the rest. I did because I found a place where I could do good. I served in the Navy for 15 years, and would still be serving if I hadn't been medicaled out.  Some of my outlook is antiquated, but it's the way I was read.

And I'm not criticizing you... I actually envy you. But... how were you able to sleep at night? I wouldn't be able to. Had I enlisted, I would constantly be praying for no war breaking out... because if a war breaks out and you're a soldier, you'll probably end up dead! Crazy!

It's like with the firefighters. I mean... all brave men (and women, I think?). But it's a job you can day in *every single day*. I love those people for doing it, but... it's crazy. Why would anybody actually choose to do it???

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 03:06:29 PM »
You know what my job was for the first five years of my career?

I launched aircraft off the pointed end of a nuclear carrier. I was a S-3B Avionics Tech. I worked on my aircraft, on the spot, and launched it off the pointed end of the boat. It is one of the most dangerous jobs there is. Fear isn't all paralyzing. It's healthy but not overwhelming. I knew enough to be aware of my environment but not enough to let it stall me out. 'Head on the swivel' was the term we used. The job was listed as #3 on the dangerous jobs list after explosives driver and high rise window washer when I did it.

It's okay to be afraid Beorning. Don't let it rule you. It gives you an edge if you let it help you focus.

As for combat, closest I came to seeing the enemy close enough to shoot at them was when the Iranian P-3 flew by carrier. Someone once told me only like 1 in every 4 or 5 military members ever fight the enemy face to face.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 03:23:50 PM »
You know what my job was for the first five years of my career?

I launched aircraft off the pointed end of a nuclear carrier. I was a S-3B Avionics Tech. I worked on my aircraft, on the spot, and launched it off the pointed end of the boat. It is one of the most dangerous jobs there is. Fear isn't all paralyzing. It's healthy but not overwhelming. I knew enough to be aware of my environment but not enough to let it stall me out. 'Head on the swivel' was the term we used. The job was listed as #3 on the dangerous jobs list after explosives driver and high rise window washer when I did it.

Out of curiosity: what's dangerous about this job, exactly? That you might be run over by a plane? I don't know enough about life on the carriers to know, that's why I'm asking.

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It's okay to be afraid Beorning. Don't let it rule you. It gives you an edge if you let it help you focus.

Still, being focused doesn't always help, does it? Otherwise, that job you mentioned wouldn't be considered dangerous. If it is considered dangerous, then it means that even the focused people get hurt or killed. And that's the dealbreaker for me. I can deal with job requiring attention... but random, uncontrollable danger? I'd never take such a job.

Quote
As for combat, closest I came to seeing the enemy close enough to shoot at them was when the Iranian P-3 flew by carrier. Someone once told me only like 1 in every 4 or 5 military members ever fight the enemy face to face.

That means that you have 20% chance of seeing combat. It's a big chance...

I don't know. I keep watching the documentaries about the military life, I see people who enlist... and I honestly envy them. But I can't get over thinking about risks. It makes me feel like a worthless coward...

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 04:05:17 PM »
First off... till you're in the situation, don't feel bad or cowardly. It's easy to think things over and over and over when it's only intellectual. You'd be surprised about the 'bravest' folks. Some of the guys I know said they were just a hair ahead of peeing themselves. Guys who eared the Bronze/Silver Star, the Congressional Medal of Honor.

It's hard to explain. Honestly. Don't overthink it.

I can't explain all the hazards of the flight deck. Imagine something the size of three soccer fields. Now put upwards of 40 active aircraft turning over, running, add in a half dozen or so vehicles running around along with 300 people doing various things. And then add FOUR steam catapults capable of tossing a half-ton truck over a 1/4 mile (when turned into the wind) at full power (assuming it doesn't literally pull the front end off in the launch).

Among the fun there is out there, you have 27,000 RPM props running on aircraft. I was once tossed over 30 ft by the propwash of an E-2C. Threw me, a 210 pound man, my 45 pound tool box and 60 pound part that far.


Offline Sasquatch421

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 04:36:44 PM »
I suppose there was a fear there at times... I remember back when I was in Marine Corps boot camp they brought us all into the theater and basically told us that Saddam had launched an attack and killed enough people that all our MOS's were being changed to infantry so they could speed us through are training and get us onto the front lines. Other then Sundays when we could buy a paper we had no access to news so we had thought they were giving us facts. In reality it was another exercise showing us how quickly things could change. I watched big tough guys hold up a hand and saying they couldn't handle taking a life... Me? After the shock wore off I got pissed and I was willing to try to take out Saddam with nothing but a K-Bar. I wouldn't have gotten very far but that was just me...

As for joining my grandpa was in WW2 and every time we would visit there would be a war movie on TV and my grandpa telling stories. My father was the only son that didn't join a branch due to the fact he was the youngest and needed at home since his other two brothers had been drafted already. As imperfect this country is I still love her and wanted to do my part to defend her in my own way. The Corps was the perfect fit for me for some reason and thinking back I realize there is only one true MOS for it... Infantry any other MOS is a secondary job. I signed up for Crash, Fire Rescue but ended up Aviation Ordnance with the Fighting Bengals...

IYAOYAS!

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 02:01:11 PM »
First off... till you're in the situation, don't feel bad or cowardly. It's easy to think things over and over and over when it's only intellectual. You'd be surprised about the 'bravest' folks. Some of the guys I know said they were just a hair ahead of peeing themselves. Guys who eared the Bronze/Silver Star, the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Well, I will never be in a combat situation, because - as I mentioned - no military would take me (rightly). Still, it kind of pisses me off that, even if it wasn't the case, I would never get over the fear and sign up. I simply like living very much, right? But, apparently, there are people who like living and sign up nevertheless...

Quote
I can't explain all the hazards of the flight deck. Imagine something the size of three soccer fields. Now put upwards of 40 active aircraft turning over, running, add in a half dozen or so vehicles running around along with 300 people doing various things. And then add FOUR steam catapults capable of tossing a half-ton truck over a 1/4 mile (when turned into the wind) at full power (assuming it doesn't literally pull the front end off in the launch).

Among the fun there is out there, you have 27,000 RPM props running on aircraft. I was once tossed over 30 ft by the propwash of an E-2C. Threw me, a 210 pound man, my 45 pound tool box and 60 pound part that far.

It sounds... amazing... *wants*

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Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 02:56:55 PM »
My dad was in the military, and he said that the man who is fearless is the worst person to deal with in combat - regardless of which side you're on.  Think about it:  The man (or woman) who does not fear death is more likely to rush in, Mad-Max style, without much regard at all for stealth, strategy, or the fact that the people on their own side might be in danger.  Everyone talks about Rambo, but watch the first movie sometime:  First Blood.  You probably won't find it in the Action section - it's usually filed under Drama.  There's very little 'charging in, guns blazing' on John Rambo's part, regardless of the image he got in later movies.  It's over 90% stealth and cunning.  He was a man who just wanted to be allowed to live. 

The person who has no fear gets careless.  The trick is to fear just enough that you consider what the dangers are, and how to counter them, but not so much that you're paralyzed by it.

Offline alextaylor

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2013, 11:41:52 AM »
I don't see anything wrong with death really. There are worse things. Like being homeless. Being a prostitute. Surviving on bread and leftovers thrown out by KFC. A lot of military people don't get put in danger, but this varies - someone in the US/Israel/Korean/Egyptian military is in way more danger than those in the Swiss/Indian/etc military.

There are more dangerous jobs. Do any kind of engineering and you run the risk of being killed by a machine or falling off something to your doom. Doctors and sanitation risk dying horrible deaths through diseases. Lawyers, law enforcement, business, politics and you'll risk getting beat up, assassinated, or raped by someone who you've pissed off. Work with food, especially meat, and you risk chopping off valuable parts, infection, getting your bones kicked in by strong scared animals... and work at minimum wage. Work in construction and you're dealing with deadly power tools and angry, underpaid immigrants who aren't averse to bringing swords to a fight.

Military doesn't seem all that bad. How many wars has your country fought in since you were born?

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2013, 12:32:59 PM »

Military doesn't seem all that bad. How many wars has your country fought in since you were born?

Not many wars.. but lots of 'little' conflicts.

-Vietnam (ongoing when I was born)
-Desert Storm/Shield (1st Gulf War)
-2nd Gulf War
-Ongoing 'Insurgent' actions in Afganistan
-Panama
-Serbia/Croatia
-Somalia

and those are the ones I can think of at the moment.

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Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2013, 01:16:44 PM »
I could be wrong, but I think Alex was asking Beorning, as a comparison of how much 'more or less' dangerous the military would be as a career compared to nations like the US and Israel, who seem to be involved in something every time you turn around.  (Not that this is good or bad - it just 'is'.)

The Polish army has contributed to the NATO forces involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that's the only thing since 1968 (when the Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia.)

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2013, 01:23:22 PM »
I could be wrong, but I think Alex was asking Beorning, as a comparison of how much 'more or less' dangerous the military would be as a career compared to nations like the US and Israel, who seem to be involved in something every time you turn around.  (Not that this is good or bad - it just 'is'.)

The Polish army has contributed to the NATO forces involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that's the only thing since 1968 (when the Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia.)

Well there is the fact that they do contribute forces to Nato that make things a bit wonky. I had a few friends who did a tour in Nato forces. It wound up being 'office work' or 'standing in the middle of nowhere without support' (Their words). It is like any tour, boring/exciting/whatever. I know I've met Japanese, Kuwaiti, Saudi, Danish, German, English, Aussie, Indian, Taiwanese, Korean and Canadian folks in my tenure in the Navy. Working with us in offices and the field. It can be hard to quantify is what I'm pointing out.

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Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2013, 01:30:14 PM »
*nodnods*  I wasn't making any assumptions about the kind of work that might be involved, only the relative rarity of involvement in conflicts.  Since Wikipedia lumps the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan into the overall 'War on Terror' heading (no comment), that's still about half the number of conflicts that the US has been involved in, over the same-ish time period.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2013, 02:17:31 PM »
*nodnods*  I wasn't making any assumptions about the kind of work that might be involved, only the relative rarity of involvement in conflicts.  Since Wikipedia lumps the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan into the overall 'War on Terror' heading (no comment), that's still about half the number of conflicts that the US has been involved in, over the same-ish time period.

Right off the bat, we got a few 'training' events in Central America that typically are small scale and limited to 'advisors' (snort)

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2013, 04:44:38 AM »
I could be wrong, but I think Alex was asking Beorning, as a comparison of how much 'more or less' dangerous the military would be as a career compared to nations like the US and Israel, who seem to be involved in something every time you turn around.  (Not that this is good or bad - it just 'is'.)

The Polish army has contributed to the NATO forces involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that's the only thing since 1968 (when the Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia.)

Actually, there were more - there are / were our troops in former Yugoslavia region, for instance. They are also in Chad and at Golan Heights (as a part of UN peacekeeping forces).

Offline Aadreal

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Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2013, 02:35:51 PM »
Not military but a good portion of my family has been/is/will be.  Not all military personnel are on the front lines.  At least here in the US there are people sitting in office and cubicles wearing the uniform, the only risk of injury being a paper cut or stabbing themselves with a staple that didn't fold over properly (I hate when that happens).  For most civilian jobs there are military equivalents.  Granted, some do run the risk of being sent into combat zones as support personnel.  Does it make their choice any less?  Nope.  They have signed up to defend their nation, sometimes doing so means supporting those with the finger on the trigger.  Just saying, signing up doesn't necessarily mean you'll be in the line of fire.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2013, 12:12:31 PM »
When I enlisted, I was 17.  I was invulnerable.  I never imagined I would be in any real danger.

Offline The Golden Touch

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2013, 11:18:15 PM »
I suppose that it can be considered odd, but no, I'm not afraid. I've seen the flight deck of a carrier where I'm dodging blistering hot exhaust of twenty plus aircrafts just to get to my single jet. Combine this with the trip hazards of fuel hoses stretched across the deck, or a forgotten chain, that can send me face first into non-skid (Like sandpaper but in concrete version). These exhausts can knock my ass over and send me over the edge, as well as the aircrafts coming up on power, and I mean UP ON POWER that is hotter and more powerful than something at idle. I should be afraid. Its tightly compact space of machines that can suck you through an intake and spit out bloody chunks, or boil your exposed skin (usually the face). Not to mention you're mostly deaf from the roar of the engines since you're less than twenty feet away from them in most cases. There have been more instances where I've been standing next to someone that has taken a direct hit from a pair of chocks in the face. He didn't know where, or who, he was when he got back up.

I may deploy next time to a Middle East country and hear mortars going off when I'm trying to sleep. This job is not, and never has been, pretty. But, it gives stability to my family and a job I like... Most days.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2013, 11:41:34 PM »
I got caught behind a JBD from 30 feet when a F-14A went to full afterburner Golden Touch, so yeah.. I know what 'fun' the flight deck can be. After I got tossed by the propwash of E-2C over 30 ft I got up and went inside to sic the 'Big Dawg' on the turn coordinator that nearly killed me.

It's the biggest rush you'll ever have, running around with green/red/yellow/blue/ect shirts (I was a white shirt) and lauching stuff off the pointed end of the boat. I've sat in barrack rooms in while wondering if the protestors outside the gate were going to again shoot onto base (they did before..the air crew got an air service medal and the ground crew got nothing.)

Military service is like normal work. You have cliques, office politics, and more. You have work hazards (like the examples) I just posted.

What you also have is a tradition of service and dedication. No one comes to the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy for exactly the same reasons. Each of us have variations on themes, we each take a unique outlook on why and how we serve. What is dangerous and what is 'everyday'. Sometimes that is the same thing.

Touch.. Go careful if they put you in the long grass. I tell that to my buds still in to do that when they get tapped for IA (Individual Augumentations). Keep your head on a swivel.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2013, 05:50:53 AM »
I got caught behind a JBD from 30 feet when a F-14A went to full afterburner Golden Touch, so yeah.. I know what 'fun' the flight deck can be. After I got tossed by the propwash of E-2C over 30 ft I got up and went inside to sic the 'Big Dawg' on the turn coordinator that nearly killed me.

Hm. It's the stuff like that would stop me from enlisting, if I were eligible for service. I just... don't want to go to work that could get me killed...

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2013, 03:10:44 PM »
Hm. It's the stuff like that would stop me from enlisting, if I were eligible for service. I just... don't want to go to work that could get me killed...

You know, I have been nearly electrocuted in my home at least five times between the age of 5 and 15. I got in more trouble and violence when I attended an Irish-Catholic school in the Republic of Ireland. I have at least a dozen boxer fractures on each hand, a bad knee and a nose that looks like a crooked road. I nearly flipped my car twice in high school, fell nearly 2 stories tree climbing (and landed like a cat and staggered away).

Granted the 30 foot flight along the flight deck wasn't fun.. but I've done a lot of physically challenging things in my life (and am paying for it now)

My point, though I'm meandering to it, is that work and real life incidents can and do happen. I could have been tossed that same 30 feet if I was working a commercial flight line. The only different would have been that I would have landed on the concrete of a runway rather than the non-skid of a flight deck.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2013, 03:34:12 PM »
My point, though I'm meandering to it, is that work and real life incidents can and do happen.

I know, but there are different probabilities of accidents in different jobs, right? Working in the office isn't really as dangerous as working on the flight deck. So... why sign up for the more dangerous job?

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Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2013, 03:48:26 PM »
Being passionate about what you're doing.  Benefits, such as college tuition.  Adrenaline junkie.

Fun fact:  One of the most dangerous jobs in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is commercial fishing.  It jockeys back and forth with logging.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Question for the military folks here...
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2013, 04:05:48 PM »
Being passionate about what you're doing.  Benefits, such as college tuition.  Adrenaline junkie.

I'd never be able to be as passionate about something as to risk my life to do it...  :-(

Enlisting because of benefits feels... strange. Have I done something like that, I'd be constantly praying not to get deployed in my time of service...

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Fun fact:  One of the most dangerous jobs in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is commercial fishing.  It jockeys back and forth with logging.

I actually knew that  :-) I used to work in workplace safety and, when I was studying the subject in the tech school, they gave us these kinds of statistics.

And yes, I am obsessed about safety and was a workplace safety inspector. Kind of fits, I know  ;D