Meanjoe, I respect your candor and honesty.
Your comments weigh on me because it’s based on erroneous assumptions about what serving in the military is about. And I think it demeans military personnel, who sacrifice and serve to keep this country safe. Having been called a “baby burner” and many much more foul adjectives for having participated in the bombing of Hanoi, I know what military service is like, and I know how much derogatory comments can hurt those who are doing their best to serve our country honestly and honorably. I’m proud of my dad having served in WWII, and recognize that had he and millions of others not served there are many millions, perhaps billions, of people throughout who would not be free today. I’m proud of my service during Viet Nam, even though I may have mixed emotions about the war itself. And I’m proud of my son’s service in Afghanistan, even though I feel the war itself is Viet Nam all over again.
That “life of readiness drills” that you malign… readiness, alertness, and effectiveness ARE the job. And should we come under attack, we’d damn well BETTER be ready. Without constant training, drilling, preparation, and commitment, Seal Team Six would not have been able to carry out their missions that make us so proud. And, if we ever ARE attacked, that drilling and preparation, and the ORIs (war games) will all have been well worth it. It is the military’s primary responsibility to STAY constantly prepared in order to PREVENT war. The reason we were never attacked until 9/11 is because since WWII we’ve been the most powerful nation on earth. Yes, hearing someone malign the men and women who keep us that way weighs on me.
Yes, to answer your question directly, knowing that you may have to use weapons that might kill millions is a great weight. And those that maintain their readiness to do so have my utmost respect. And believe me, time in LCFs is not the relaxing vacation you think it is. It does all require a very special ability to live with the responsibility and the stress. Serving in the military in any capacity has been repeatedly proven to be by far the most stressful career one can choose. I honor those that make a career doing it.
And yes, there are still underground missiles and LCFs. And there are still men and women making the great sacrifice of living always ready to go to war. And I personally guarantee that every one of them prays that they’ll never have to launch one of those missiles. But if they ever need to, I honor them and pray for them.