Life in the Trenches Has Its Rewards

Whenever I was deployed in the military, nothing was normal. I was away from my familiar routine, surroundings, friends and family. It was usually inconvenient and not all of the things I habitually used every day in the U.S. were available to me. The team I deployed with and I called it working in the trenches.

It was not a six-month, all-expenses-paid vacation on a pristine, sun-swept beach somewhere. It was not fun for me or anyone else.

Members of the military are known for grousing. We upheld that tradition. But we also knew we signed up for whatever the circumstance in which our country needed us and knew somebody somewhere had experienced worse before we came along.

Deployments were rough. Sometimes we didn’t know when we were going to be going home or, if we had a date, it was changed. Our leaders, who also experienced the crummy-ness, kept us motivated and focused. We knew we had a job to do and other people counted on us. So, we focused on that.

But there’s one valuable thing that came from it, a bonding that can’t be forged any other way but sharing misery in the trenches. My coworkers and I formed stronger relationships. We came up with new ideas and found ways to make the most of our circumstances. After some time had passed, we could laugh and joke about those days together. Only those of us who had been there understood.

Our current business situation is somewhat like a deployment. We know it will end, though we don’t know exactly when. We are not comfortable with it, but we are in the trenches with a lot of others. And we will be stronger together.

Here are just a few of my deployed pictures from Panama, Korea, Macedonia, Jordan, and Iraq.


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