While replying to a comment Caraboska made a couple of posts ago, I decided I needed to do a little post and expound on the subject.
Conscientious objectors. We all know what that is, and I'm sure you've seen news coverage of soldiers who have filed that status in conjuction with finding out about that they're going to be deployed.
Let me tell ya - I don't want to be "that guy". Soldiers do NOT look lightly upon others who use that status. There's a level of resentment and disdain that comes with that status -- as a shirker who is fine with serving in the US, but when it comes time to do a soldier's most basic duty -- you're considered a dirtbag. You're tossing your buddy out there in your place. You've defaulted on the Army values.
The following are the seven Army Values, the guidelines that soldiers are supposed to live their lives by:
Loyalty: Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. constitution, the Army, your unit, and other soldiers.
Duty: Fulfill your obligations.
Respect: Treat people as they should be treated.
Selfless Service: Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.
Honor: Live up to all the Army values.
Integrity: Do what's right, legally and morally.
Personal Courage: Face fear, danger, or adversity (physical or moral).
Is it always like that? Of course not. The Army is made up of people. People are flawed. But these are the things to which we aspire.
You have to know what the military is and what service entails. Simple, really, but I'm continually astounded by the things that people say and do when they find out they are going to deploy. Is it such a shocker? We're at war, folks. It's not pretty, and it's not right, but that's the way things are. If you have enlisted in the last 9 1/2 years, you know it, and you voluntarily signed that paper anyway.
On a more personal note...
Have any of you ever been walking through an airport and seen a group of soldiers? Maybe there's just one or two at first, but then you see another. And then another comes along. They gravitate to one another. It's reassurance of the familiar, in unfamiliar surroundings. The uniform is a recognizable constant. They may never see each other again after that minute or hour, but they're brothers and sisters -- bound not by blood, but of the spirit. That's the bond that makes wounded soldiers wish to be back in the desert with their units, that makes old soldiers nostalgic, and keeps young ones coming back for more.
My brothers and sisters in arms have been going over there for years. Some for 3, 4, or more deployments.
There is no soldier worth his or her salt that will allow a brother or sister to deploy in their place, not when they themselves can go instead.
Am I worried and a bit scared? Yep. But would I try to get out of it?
Not on your life.