In the last few days, pictures have been circulating on social media of members of the National Guard sleeping on the floor of the Capitol building. Of course, civilians with no understanding of what military life is like gasped and fainted,

“Oh my God!! Those poor pitiful soldiers are sleeping on the floor!”

Meanwhile, those of us who are veterans and familiar with what life can be in the service knew exactly what these National Guard troops sleeping in the Capitol were really thinking,

“This is pretty sweet!  We’re indoors and it’s warm!”

The outpouring of civilian angst about the Guardsmen sleeping on the Capitol’s floor got so bad the National Guard actually had to put out a statement asking people to stop trying to donated beds, cots, and blankets, promising that the troops are being looked after and adding that they don’t have the logistics to run a donation center.

What most civilians don’t realize is that the military often sucks on purpose. The leaders of our military know that you cannot win wars with troops that have had no experience of material deprivation, loss of sleep, and physical discomfort. So while you are serving you will find yourself frequently being “hardened,” so to speak, by circumstances where you don’t get enough sleep, don’t get enough to eat, don’t get enough leisure time, and any number of other things. That’s the way it works. Hard soldiers win hard fights. And we laugh about “Embracing the Suck” of military life and telling ourselves that if we can’t cut it in peacetime, we certainly won’t be able to cut it when our country is at war.

I’m sure the commander of that guard unit had no problem with his men being in “Hurry Up and Wait” mode and sacked out on the floor of the Capitol while a bivouac with more proper facilities was being prepared for them someplace else. It will probably be a warehouse or auditorium at some school in the area. They will have cots, showers, latrines, and a chow line. It will still kinda suck, but if you’ve seasoned your people enough by depriving them of comforts and convenience, they will have a frame of reference that has them thinking, “Well, at least we’re sleeping inside this time and it’s warm.” In any event, the National Guard troops aren’t even sleeping there. It’s just an assigned rest area between their guard shifts.