From: Dismal Seepage Indiana
Only age has slowed me down and softened my prior "hardcore persona".
Lifer army officer father made sure his sons were matured to the harshness of life at an early age. Maybe it has tended to make me see the weakness in men sooner than others might detect it?
This is not always a good thing, (except in combat).
Yesterday, I was browsing the aisles of the local PetSmart store and this "kid" walks over to me. He works there..He asks if there is anything he can help me find?
I turn to look at him for the first time. I size him up..Looks to be maybe 20, 22 tops..I told him I had just found what I was looking for, explained my wife has a wolf and it has always required a special food..(Only Purina Pro Plan with meat as the #1 ingredient, no cereal whatsoever or he impersonates a cow with diarrhea which you would not believe).
He sez "Yes..we had a wolf in our unit in Tikrit.."
I look at him again..I asked "Tikrit"?..He responds "Yes".
Of course I knew where Tikrit is, but this guy is just a "kid"!!
He then explains his unit had been in Iraq,Afghanistan, and Kuwait..
I asked if they were combat zones when he was there? He sez "Yes, all but Kuwait", but he counters that he did not see much "action" as he was always in "the rear area".
He seemed apologetic.
I assured him that with my guys, in my war, we were ALWAYS grateful for the guys in his AO and that there really was no differentiation in a war that has no "front lines"
For me..this encounter was supposed to happen, to maybe soften me up some more and to educate me on how biased I might have been concerning perceptions of "kids" and generational conflicts.
I thanked him for his service,(he did likewise), and I walked away feeling much better about the hands of the folks protecting me now.............