This is the second part to the original article “How to succeed while deployed with Green Berets when you aren’t one.”


Respect yourself

If you ask every conventional guy who got the VSO (Village Stabilization Operations) mission how it went, you will get just as many different answers. I have heard many stories from teams, squads, and platoons who were with other ODAs (Operational Detachment Alpha) in different areas, who had horrible experiences. They didn’t get along with the team, they were treated like idiots, and were basically made to do with “Charlie Work” on the VSP (Village Stability Platform).

While a lot of that could be beyond anyone’s control, I worked with multiple teams, all of which had their own personalities and styles, and still had a good working relationship with everyone. We were part of the team and not treated like window-lickers. I would like to think that part of that comes from respecting yourself.

By that I mean not resigning yourself to just be some lackey at the team’s disposal. You show that in a number of ways. First, don’t be an idiot. Be good at your job, be proactive, be physically fit, and the rest should take care of itself.

The most succinct way I could describe it: Act like a bitch, get treated like a bitch. At the end of the day, no matter what you do, you’re not going to suddenly have a long tab and be an operator. But you can be really good at the job you do have, have pride in that, and that will go a long way in earning respect.

Know your role