I meant to write about this topic for some time, but always had something better to write, or was not feeling like writing anything. Before I get into this, I want to share some of the things that can cause deployment stress, just to give ya'll an idea. Grumpy may or may not have experienced any of these.
Grumpy's semi-random list of stress inducing crap, in rough order of stress-induction:
- Actual combat
- Being shot at randomly
- Being forced to endure PowerPoint presentations that are 95% fluff
- Being mortared
- General Order #1 (or as I call it G.O. # Fuuuuuuuuuuunn!)
- Watching your vehicle begin to roll into a ditch in slow motion
- Lack of accountability for failure or poor performance
- Listening to some POS try to take credit for everything done by others
- Having to listen to another person explain why they are just a farmer and we got it all wrong
- Whiny terps who make $175,000 and bitch if they work more than 4 hours a day
- Uniform regulations
- Anyone who answers every question with "Ani?"
- Listening to REMFs who sit around reading regs trying to find a way to qualify for another medal
- Inability to fire shitbags and deadwood
- Sergeants Major
It is impossible to do much about any of these things, so one must find ways to manage the stress they bring about. Soldiers have always had some tried and true ways to do this:
- Having Sex
- Working out
ExerciseThis is too easy to skip in the go-go world of 16 hour days, 7 days a week, but it is essential to find the time. And although I am guilt of having missed my routine when "business" was good, I quickly got back on it. Some guys work out everyday, more disciplined than me I guess. There were even a few who worked out twice a day, but the key is to find timing and a routine that works for you, but mainly to burn off stress. I used to like to run, but had hurt my ankle and foot in Ft XXXXX before deploying. Which took time to heal because of all my LaCrosse and Football injuries from school (or maybe it's just that I am getting old? -- nah.) Inspired by Tin/Katana I tried using the Elliptical and found that to be very effective without pounding my knees and causing my ankle to swell (mortars attacks were doing a fine job of that!)
HumorThis would be CI Roller Dude's top advice, and personally, as grumpy as I may be I always try to find a way to laugh at our situation. There are a couple of great Combat Comedians in my unit, notably "B". But "D" is certainly one of the best, and that was one of the best things about my CA Guard unit - there were lots of us with twisted senses of humor. We've played many a practical joke on each other.
So, those are my big two, hard to say which is more important than the other to making it out of here sane. If anyone has a good deployment practical joke story, I would love to hear it.