21 July 2009

Ten Things I Love About the Army, Part I

If you only knew me by reading this blog, you might get the impression that I dislike the Army. Well, I am here to set the record straight. Nine out of ten postings may be unabashed, searing criticism of the Army, but the exception that proves the rule is here!

In all seriousness, I am proud of the Army, and still wear the uniform with humble admiration for what it represents. In that spirit of reverence, I proudly present, the Ten Things I Love About the Army Part 1:

1. Drill and Ceremony/ Pomp and Circumstance: It is impossible to watch an Honor Guard, a tightly choreographed drill, or Soldiers salute their fallen comrades or a noble leader without being moved. The United States Army is one of the last bastions of a codified time-honored respect in our culture.

2. Uniforms: ACUs are just cool. The digital pattern implies progress and modernity. The cut says utility and versatility. And there are even three pen pockets on the sleeve! I don't know what that says, but it's handy. It's also nice to not have to worry about what you're going to wear to work.

3. Constant Training Mentality: The U.S. Army is in a transitional phase, to an "Objective Force." The future force, say the optimists, will have smarter and more adaptive Soldiers. There's a lot to get ready for, and in order to prepare, the force is always looking to learn new things.

4. Benefits: I have earned a little latitude for selfishness, I think, as have all volunteer Soldiers. Some of the benefits are wonderful, from tuition assistance and student-loan forgiveness, to commissary privileges and military flights. Many civilian merchants offer military discounts, and there are a plethora of fringe benefits, like online libraries, free software, and legal advice. My wife and I were once considering forking over $80 a month each for a gym membership when we realized there was a military station not five miles from our home, whose gym we could use 24 hours for free.

5. Diversity: Call me touchy-feely, but I appreciate the variety. It is nice to know that our Armed Forces are fairly a portrait of our wonderfully diverse nation. I have met Soldiers from every racial, religious, ethnic, and cultural background while in the Army, and we are all better for it.

Read Ten Things I Love about the Army, Part II

(DoD photo by Army SGT Teddy Wade)


  1. Glad you are enjoyoing the experience. And enjoy all the benefits there! We are excited for your return!

    Claire Stowell

  2. I like your thoughts and agree whole heartedly with #1.


  3. Nice! I like #1.

    I assume mess hall didn't make the list because it is #6 or #7 in the second half. :-)

  4. I enjoyed #2... pen pockets! Ha! Rich, I love your nerdiness! Didn't know you were concerned about what to wear to work! I should send you the latest LPS NBA t-shirt!

  5. Liked this. As someone who grew up in the military, which I know is different than BEING in the military, I do find parallels in your commentary. I'll critique the military to death, yet have always acknowledged its importance and what it's done for my family. I was sad to leave that bubble when I left for college. I later tried to join USAF but they wouldn't have me!