July 4, 2013

The Things Warfighter’s Do To Keep Themselves Sane

After a recent discussion with a fellow soldier, I started to think of the different things we military folk do to keep ourselves sane. Not the PTSD sanity, but the ‘I’m stuck here for hours and days staring at the same piece of god forsaken earth’ type of insanity.

My friend Sobe was showing me some pictures from a trip to Afghanistan a couple of years back, and one particular photo caught my eye. Not for the beauty of the land or the winding river below, but his posture in the photo. Sobe and his men were stuck on that OP for six days, and singing to the goats in the valley below seemed like a reasonable course of action. I sure as hell would sing to the goats if I had to sit for six days, staring at the Arghandab river basin 1,400 meters away.

The random physical actions and crazy stuff that comes out of a soldier’s mouth when they are beyond boredom and on the brink of insanity will make any civilian cringe—often in disgust. It’s not because we are truly insane, at least not documented, but because, when all of the normality of the real world is stripped away, we revert to a primal state. Between all of the fighting and training is sheer boredom—sitting, waiting, watching, observing, and anticipating what might happen at any moment without warning.

Not only did Sobe describe to me about singing to the goats, but told me of how they acted out a scene from the Lion King. Yes, that is correct. Grown men, snipers, and the United States Army’s lethal precision shooters acting out a scene from a Disney movie. I am not writing this as a knock to these men and heroes, but as a reality check to the rest of the world of how these men cope with the unknown. Sorry, but during our downtime we weren’t just sitting around a fire, sharpening our ka-bars and applying cammo to our faces as we waited to slay the enemy.

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About the Author

I served in 3rd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment from 2003-2008. Almost four years of the time spent in 3/75 was spent in the sniper section. I am a graduate of US Army Airborne School, US Army Ranger School, US Army Sniper School, Special Forces Sniper Course, and the US Marine Corps Summer Mountain Scout Sniper Course. I have competed in the US Army International Sniper Competition as well as the US Army Small Arms Championships on three separate occasions. I currently live in Corvallis, Oregon and hold a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Oregon State University.

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  • GeraldE

    mattinnc GeraldE Ok, here you go. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT5uFePotD8

  • PatrickTurnage

    My thing is I would sing to myself "the bear went over the mountain to see what he could see and all that he could see was the other side of the mountain" during hours of walking from mountain to mountain.

  • JHR13

    Tango9 JHR13 Yeah, well, we also do shit like THIS. We dressed the Camel up:-) Kinda borrowed him too:-) then all took pics up aboard. I am in native dress. This is not me in the pic.....but its what we do. Somebody got on the thing with a cape, like batman. Oh yeah. Mil aren't the only ones that burn time:-) https://twitter.com/JuliaHugoRachel/status/354414331355598849/photo/1

  • hlconrad4(MAFIA)

    Oh dude, I will make the elders of this site fill old with the music I listen to!! I love Bon Jovi, moody blues, Pink Floyd, blue oyster cult, the who, the cars, foreigner, journey, and many more. I also listen to contemporary christian.

  • Recon6

    dickftr Recon6 Virginstateofmind    Lol, who doesn't remember That !!...awesome bro....6