News from Baghdad

A small spot to describe to a certain extent what it is like for the soldiers here in Iraq. I must remain anonymous as there may be some who would view this as an "official" posting, however, it is not. Just some personal views on the politics and public views in this war that has been to oftentimes tainted by the sensationalism of the media.

Name:
Location: Home, United States

I enjoy my job to the fullest, regardless of the political climate at any particular time. My family and my soldiers are the central focal point of my existence as well as my religious viewpoints.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

05 January 2005

As I reflect on the past year, I am faced with the changes in life that have hit so hard in many ways, and yet, have made me a better person, soldier, Non-Commissioned Officer and a leader. Being a man of high ideals, those beliefs have been strengthened through the hardships, trials, blessings and defeats over the past year. I have changed in many ways, and it shall be up to those who know me best to evaluate those changes as either for the good, or for the worse. I only hope that they are mostly for the best. As a soldier, I have experienced things that are only touched on in training. Live fire is one thing, however, one knows not how they will act when it is not an invisible laser that “kills” you in training, but a live bullet zinging past your head, or slamming into the concrete near you. One knows not how they will react when faced with hostile forces who only retain the interest in seeing you pass into the next life. I have realized that the title “Sergeant” is not just a rank that demands respect. It is a position of authority, that if abused, shall only prove the fact that while soldiers may do what you say because they “have” to or because the Sergeant “said so”, they will never, ever give 100% if you are not willing to care for them as soldiers and men, and if you do not give 110% of everything that you have 110% of the time. Leadership is rewarding if done well. I respect each and every one of my men for who they are—Professional Soldiers, willing to do a job and accomplish any task handed to them. They have grown over this year and it will be difficult to leave them upon our return back to the United States. I will always remember this time as one of the best years of my life. Yes, I have lost friends and fellow soldiers, however, I have forged new friendships that will not easily fade into the dark recesses of time. I have made bonds with men, who only 18 months ago, had no idea who I was, what I stood for and if I could do the job—both leadership, and soldiers. I have tried my best to be the best leader possible and do my job the best that I know how. I only hope that in years to come, my men can look back and evaluate me as being a good leader. It is not the senior, but rather the subordinate who rates the leader. A leader is directly reflected in the actions of his soldiers.

As the time begins to wind down and we look toward the day when we shall return to our loved ones, I am faced with the age old problem of “smelling the barn” among the troops. I can only pray that as the time draws closer and closer, that I can keep my men's frame of mind in the right place and we will all go home together, sit around the barbecue and speak of battles won, friendships made, and our future lives. I will truly miss the time that I have spent this year, but there are more soldiers to train and another generation of leaders to mold. I only hope that I can be a part of it for as long as they will have me.

13 Comments:

Blogger airforcewife said...

Jay:

You make points that both my brother and Beloved Hubby did from their time in Iraq. Although, their points also included a new-found love for Jimmy Buffet!

Bless you all in the time that you have left - we'll keep on praying for you!

1:52 AM  
Blogger Shar said...

You know Jay I think that because you recognize these qualities are needed to be a good leader, that you will receive the highest amount of respect from those who work for you. Every young soldier I've ever known, hopes to have a good sergeant to work for. It really sounds like your group of soldiers have come up winners in that department. It'll be great to hear that you are all back home safe and sound.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband seems to inspire me with the simpliest of things, and I love him with all my heart and soul. Thank God the time is now hopefully short and he will be coming home to my warm waiting loving arms. I have supported him this whole year and I will continue too. I will not walk behind him, but I will walk beside him. We are looking forward to many changes in and to our small family this new yr. His homecoming in Oct for R&R was the greatest, the pitter patter of little feet in the house will be a GOD send for us, and we are looking forward to possible 3 sets. I however am concerned about some of the comments that have been posted here on his blog site by an anonymous commenter. My husband has no one else he will be seeing but his wife and family when he comes home and who ever you are, your just dreaming. IF you feel differently maybe you sould email me and we can talk about this. But other wise your no threat to anyone, so you can stop playing games. My marriage and relationship with Jay is as
strong as a marriage and relationship could be.
I love you Jay and keep the "GREAT" work up till your home with all of us.
Cammy

12:12 AM  
Blogger OSAPian said...

Jay, that is the best essay on small unit military leadership I have ever read. I'm going to post a link to it on my blog as its inspired my next post.

My back didn't heal in time, or enough, for me to deploy with my outfit which has already relieved the unit it replaced for OIF-III. I speak for all true patriots on the home front when I say may God Bless them and all of you who stand at the ramparts of freedom defending our way of life.

I'll be leaving almost 30 years to the day after I raised my hand and swore the oath as a member of the Army of the United States. Looking back on seven years of active duty, many more of reserve service, two overseas tours, and three missions overseas since 9/11, I have to say the best leaders I have ever been around were the NCOs who are the backbone of our proud force. I hope to read someday of CSM Jay's appointment as Sergeant Major of the Army.

10:20 PM  
Blogger TAG said...

Having served immediately after Vietnam my units biggest battles were with drugs, alcohol, and NCO's who had ben emmasculated by leaders who were more intent on "managing" than leading. Luckily Reagan came along right before I got out & things started improving rapidly.
It's comforting to know how much things have changed since then & continue to improve. With leaders like you staying in & training the next generation I believe we will remain safe here & conditions will improve everywhere (witness Ukraine & Afghanistan).
Keep your men focused, enjoy life when you can, and rest assured people are reading and thinking of all who protect our Freedoms.
God Bless tou & the USA.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay,
I check in every day hoping to read something of what's going on with you. You guys must be really, really busy trying to sort things out before the elections--I hope that is all it is. I am sure your wife would let us know if you'd been hurt.
You guys are certainly in our prayers. Thanks for all the hard work you do to keep us safe--you stay safe, and I hope the elections there go off well and it really knocks feet out from under the terrorists.They will have a tougher time making an excuse for their brutality.
I am sure your wife checks in here too, and I just want to say all the families of our troops are also in our prayers.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah! Possible 3 sets of little feet in the house? Not with you he won't be. He has told me all about you. Just wait, he won't be with you very much longer. He is tired of your hounding him and your complaining and whining. We will see whose arms he is in when he gets home. I am not going to email you because I have been told how you are. Just watch, he will be with me in the end!!

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