There’s an old saying that “When the chips are down, your friends are around”. Add to that, “Trust must be earned”, and you’ll start to get a feel for what the Old Sarge is about to explain. Of course, this is just how I see things, in my black and white world, having lived through a real shit bath of broken relationships and for the most part a broken life. That is, until I finally figured things out in my fried green, brain-housing-group. Now life is better than a warm shower and a new case of C-rats!
It’s been more than 40 years since I walked off the battlefield, a changed man. Keep that point in your cross hairs for a bit. You’ve got to admit to yourself (don’t matter about others) that you never came back from war the same as you were before you left. For you Marines, I’ll explain that a tad more simple. You went to Boot Camp, went to battle, blew shit up and killed people. That shit can jamb a round in your chamber (your head). After killin women, kids, seein your friends get wasted, and all the shit of the battle field, you come back a “Reborn Warrior” and that’s the way you’re gonna stay for the rest of your Green Ass Life.
Now, what about “who’s got your six?” That is, who’s watchin our ass in the civilian world? If you apply your combat training, and you think about what you learned in war, this really isn’t rocket science. Sometimes it hurts like hell when you get betrayed by people that are supposed to be your friends. That’s where you have to exercise the “I don’t give a shit attitude”. I’ll explain.
Just for example, let’s use a guy as the Warrior in this. Suppose your girl friend is pissed off at you, because you sleep with a loaded .45 Caliber pistol under your pillow that you love more than her. She bails on you…so you say “I don’t give a shit!” “I’ll find someone who likes weapons!” Or when you go to visit people that were “supposed” to be your friends (before you went to war) and when you walk in, they reach for the “speed dial” to call animal control. (You make them uncomfortable)…you say “I don’t give shit”, “I’ll find other crazy people just like me!”
This exercise takes the pressure off of you and lets you truly “find” people you can trust. Most likely, these folks are gonna be fellow Combat-Hardened Warriors, or civilians that have had the same kinds of experiences. If they haven’t been through what you have, there’s no way in hell they’re gonna understand how and why you think and feel the way you do.
This is the game plan in every job, relationship and school you get involved with. For example, let’s suppose you go to a “Vet Friendly” School. That means, they know how to work with Combat Veterans and will assist you in “Adapting” to your new life. You know, now you’ll be learnin something besides breakin down new and improved weapons, or new ways to blow shit up. You can actually learn something and if you use it off the battlefield, you don’t do jail time.
If you work in a civilian job, same-e-same. Pick someone who’s been where you have. And don’t sweat the little things, if you screw up a bit. Hell, I’ve made some real bad judgment calls on pukes that were real smooth. Said that I was like family to’em (cause they knew I didn’t have family) and then at the first sign of “incoming” bailed like rats on a sinking ship.
When I look back on it, every one of these maggots were not Combat Veterans. But then, you may have to log some time in “Fly Paradise” yourself, to get the joke on this one. I just kept trustin people, until I got tired of swimming in those brown lakes and my ass got sore.
You know how us Vets think when it comes to “Trust”. Most of the time we don’t trust anyone but another Warrior. So if you want to get over the “long haul”, on waiting until someone screws you, betraying the supposed friendship, go with a Combat Vet “First”!
Here’s the great part of all this wisdom. Over the years, you sort out all the assholes and pick a few, maybe a fire team of truly good Friends. These friends become your advisors, your coaches, your support base and your allies. Now I’m not talkin about ooy-gooey-kissie-in-the-shower relationships, I’m talkin about friends that you can count on when the shit hits the fan, and friends who’ve “Got Your Six!”
Believe me, it’s well worth the wait to team up with quality, battle tested friends. These “partners in life” make your life a lot more secure, a lot safer and add a quality that is difficult to do on your own. Think about it.
Why do you suppose we have so many Military Occupational Skills (MOSs) in the armed forces? It’s because no one can do everything by his or her self, that’s why. So apply the same tactics to civilian life. A mechanic fixes your truck, a doctor gives you drugs, a politician makes things complicated and so on. If you want to succeed in business, you need a strategic marketing expert, if you need to plan out a school battle plan to become a forest ranger, you need a counselor to tell you what classes you need. And if you have a “back up” base of trusted Friends, you have your ass covered.
That’s because True Friends, will always “Watch your Six!”