“That’ll Never Be Me”

No matter what training or school or course it was in,
Fort whatever-it-was, lying on the ground at night
In the woods, cheek rested on the M-240B on guard
I fought the Z-monster but said ‘this is just training
If it was real, you’d never fall asleep on guard it’s
Just not possible – that’ll never be me.’

“Attention to detail, airborne!” the black hats screamed
As we moved double-time everywhere we went, reminding us
How important it is to pay attention to details; we would
See this again on deployment when it came to complacency,
And the horror stories we heard about how complacency kills,
But this is combat – We know its the real deal, that’ll never be me.

And we dealt with staff officers in the TOC and in the rear,
Listening to what we knew were stupid tasking’s and dumb
FRAGO’s that made no sense; these guys don’t work on the line
They have absolutely no idea what is important, they’ve lost
Touch with the Soldier and the mission – no matter
Where I go or what rank I pin on, that’ll never be me.

And as a civilian now as I sit at my desk, information fed
On a grand scale with new timelines and deadlines, I think back
And convinced that I know what I’m doing I act, or I decide
With ease; yes attention not paid, I am sleepy and I have become
What I hated and know no way back out. And on the TV in the mountains
Of Afghanistan and in the lurch in Syria U.S. forces march on.

Paying attention, remaining vigilant, avoiding complacency and
On top of their game; no, that’ll never be me. Not anymore.

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
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3 Responses to “That’ll Never Be Me”

  1. Did you find that the transition from real live to civilian was hard?
    Everything moving at molasses speed backed up with inept lacklustre management?
    Where deadlines were something on paper and never reflected reality.
    Where ignorance was bliss and Friday at 5 was all everyone thought about?
    That culture shock?
    I walked out of so many jobs for so many reasons but mainly the civilian culture and mentality.

    Then some of us would meet and talk.
    All the same story but those who had assimilated back into civilian life never attended.
    It’s disillusionment, it’s disappointment, but mainly it was anger.
    Some of us sought war to rebalance to our lives.
    Some joined paramilitary or emergency services to feel at home.
    Some gave in and folded their hands.
    Some went walkabout rather than comply.

    And to think some of us were called weird or “damaged” for doing so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even thought it wasn’t quite yesterday, sometimes it feels like the transition continues. I am fortunate in that I work with a cadre of other veterans at my job so a dear friend and compatriot is never too far away. We commiserate about this and that; we have a support group – they meet down at the bar 🙂

      But indeed so many of the ‘outsiders’as I sometimes think of them [the non-military types] are stuck in some BS rat race and worshiping the almighty dollar / pound / yen / kroner etc. and I think they get blinded by the stupidity. But I can’t blame them. I can’t truly relate to them but I can’t blame them. Reminds me of a cartoon I saw once – a chaplain from the 82nd Airborne with full kit administering alms to a soldier on bended knee:

      “Forgive him Lord, for he is a leg and knows not what he does…”

      Do they even use the kroner any longer?

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL about the Chaplin.
        Lucky man ur, having support I mean.
        All my real friends are now dust. Such is them who sought comfort in others battles. As for the other ex I knew? They never did fully understand why we did that. Full of distaste were most of them. Vive la guerre.


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