Battle Rattle and Cereal Box Wisdom
Full Battle Rattle: A Term used to describe the complete Army Standard combat ready uniform to be worn by the war fighter. This uniform consists of BDU (Battle Dress Uniform), LBV (Load Bearing Vest), Flak Vest (only stops shrapnel, not bullets), and Kevlar (Helmet that stops most bullets), Two canteens, Four magazines of twenty 5.56mm rounds, and a Field Dressing (Big Bandage).
Lastly, your weapon: the M16-A2 rifle. In our company every soldier has to have a name for their weapon. My weapons name is neatly applied to its stock using a simple label maker with black lettering on a white background. Just below my last name and weapon number it reads as follows in all caps:
In Latin, it translates to “Sword of God.” I’m not sure why I named it that, but it works for me, and I like the sound of it.
Now, I just had my birthday here in Bulgaria, which makes it by second spent away from Texas. Yet, I feel no true longing or regret from being away from home. I do miss my family, but I’m doing a lot to keep my body and mind occupied, so I tend not to dwell too much on those thoughts.
I do like being away though. In its own way it helps me find out more about myself. It is often said that we define ourselves by the people we interact with. We find ourselves stuck in a role that we play among the people we know. It becomes our identity. As long as we are with that group of people we constantly interact with, we begin to find our niche and remain there so long as we are with those people.
By setting out away from everyone and everything I’ve ever known, I get the chance to better understand myself by leaving my old niche. Now, I find a new group of people with whom I will learn what kind of person I am.
A lot of times people say, that when people go away, they come back different or seem changed. In truth that person never changed. They have always been that person. The person you knew was one who filled a niche in your life or within the group of people with whom they associated. This person was engrained in this niche and in truth we never get to change that role. The people around us reinforce that role upon us. To change it would redefine us in the group, and at times that is not possible.
It’s not easy going from the funny guy to the smart guy, or the boring guy to the interesting one. The people who we are with constantly define our personalities and existence by how they react to us. If people laugh at what you say all the time, then you must be funny right? If members of the opposite sex frequently vie for your attentions, then you must be attractive right?
Many people say, “I don’t care what other people think.” While that is all well and good, what they fail to realize, what people think of us defines who we are. Humans are social animals. Like monkeys, wolves, and cats, we interact to survive.
I’m not sure why I wrote all of that…
I think maybe its because out here, away, and almost alone, I’m finally beginning to understand who I am. What kind of “man” I have become.
No longer do I react to the world around me…the world now reacts to me.
This is comforting.