Well, things have really dropped off in the last few days. After a final flurry of hectic-ness, we are now just waiting to go. Flights in the military are not like in real life. Our departure date keeps changing, so we just try to take care of last minute things, work out, and keep out of trouble (well, not everyone.)
A few weeks back, we had a Battalion meeting for one last time before we go. When I say we in this case, I mean my NG unit, not the Active Battalion I am attached to. Our guys are scattered across an entire Group. So it was cool to see everyone in one place. Of course there were various assembled dignitaries as well - mostly they said the same tired things Generals and Politicians can be counted on to say. "You're great", "We're proud of each of you", "I wish I could go with you." Really, well I have an extra M-4 and a turret position for ya' bud.
Generally, I could give two shits what these guys have to say. The highlight of the meeting was the awards given to my fellow Soldiers, recognizing them and their hard work, and the speech from our BC (Battalion Commander.) While 'Widge and I both have a rather negative view of the general level of leadership in the Guard, this man is an exception. No doubt this in part derives from the fact he has been deployed before and is also a cop who has (literally) put his life on the line for his fellow Americans.
The BC dismissed everyone who was not a Soldier in the Battalion and had the doors closed. I know I won't do it justice, but here are the things he said that stuck with me:
We have a real mission, a good mission, a mission we will all be proud of. Do your jobs and take care of each other. If you are thinking about doing something and you're not sure if it is right, then you are probably wrong and don't do it. ... Most of all do not bring shame on this unit. Do not bring shame on these men serving with you. Do not bring shame on yourself.
For you leaders - while Serving is an Honor, Leading ... is ... a Privilege
Leaders, your job is to take care of your men, that means they ... come ... first - they eat first, they sleep first, and their safety comes first. You like the rank, pay and prestige, well that is the cost. You can't put them first, you don't want the responsibility then resign and take off the rank.
There's a man I will follow into hell, as he lives the words he speaks. Too bad more don't get this.