Developing Leaders Through the Lessons Life Gives Us

Bubbas

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in Stray Voltage | 4 comments

After my last post I got a message about my use of the word “Bubbas” to refer to my fellow Veterans. Someone thought it was kind of funny, and I guess maybe it is. There is a story behind it. Let me tell you what happened.

In 2003 I was assigned as a full time Soldier working at a Reserve Center. At that time the ground war in Iraq had just ended and Mother Army needed augmentees to fill all the random jobs that inevitably cannot be anticipated. One of  my responsibilities was filling those jobs. They came in as requisitions to be filled, and we referred to the individual positions  in a requisition as “fills”. We would review personnel rosters to find the right people with the right skill sets, give them a call, and cut orders to send them overseas. If you got a call from me it was a bad thing; you would soon spend 400 days away from home.

The most common response when we called to send someone overseas was “When do I leave?” There was complaining, sure, but rarely did anyone try to get out of it. I was truly impressed by those men and women who, with normally less than thirty days’ notice, were uprooted from friends, family and job to go into harm’s way.

One young man we sent came home early. He had a wife and two kids. I met them at his funeral. They are good, good people, the kind of folks you want as friends and neighbors. After the funeral when I got back to the office it started again – “Sir, we have another 8 fills.” I realized we had become complacent, inured somewhat to what we  were really doing. We had stopped taking it seriously; our culture had shifted subtly and we needed realignment.  The people we selected were husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters and their lives would be forever changed. They aren’t fills. Referring to them that way diminished the importance of their sacrifice and in so doing diminished our responsibility to them. We as Veterans have a near  familial responsibility to each other, and none of us should ever do anything to minimize that role.  They, my fellow Veterans, are and will always be my brothers and sisters. My bubbas.

4 Comments

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  1. ray flores

    What a simple poignant blog. Very well written. Veterans are incredible people

  2. robhefner88@gmail.com

    Not to be a cynic, but this kinda feels like spam? The website and title make me wonder. If you’re a real person, thanks for the comment!

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