I think it’s hilarious the amount of attention is paid to the subject of people finding each other while enlisted. It’s a joke to watch a military movie and see some no-name actor playing G.I.JOE right before he enters a massive firefight. As soon as some (usually) skinny, bespectacled young man pulls out a picture of some girl, you just know that motherfucker is going to die. It’s a cliche at this point.
Now, I am sure that there are many people in the service that have healthy and happy relationships while in the service, but I sure as hell never saw any. Most people were very much like me. An arrogant, stupid and scared kid that wanted nothing more than to just get laid. Didn’t matter how it happened, didn’t matter where it happened and it didn’t even matter if there was money being exchanged, most of us just wanted to get laid. But I think the cliche of the soldier that is just fighting to get home to his wife really needs to be put to rest.
Trust me, I spent two years in Iraq, and not one soldier, not one, said that they missed there wife. Some guys looked forward to being deployed just so they could have a decent excuse to be away from them.
I was living in Germany and I had a girlfriend back in the states. I say girlfriend, but we weren’t really together. Neither of us were faithful to the other and we were really more friends than anything else, but when I think back on my time in the service, the only real relationship I ever had that meant anything to me, was with my friend Alan. Alan was a guy I met while in basic training in Kentucky, and unbeknownst to us, we were stationed in Germany together. I got there one month after him thanks to hilariously expensive training program I did in April of ’06 which resulted in me basically becoming a tow truck driver. Anyway, Al and I became friends mostly because we didn’t know anyone else. We shared a room together, we ate our meals together and planned weekends (bar hopping) together, we were, for lack of a better phrase, married.
Funny thing is though, I did meet the woman who would become my wife while I was in the Army, and damn do I wish I could meet her over again with the knowledge that I have now. I was an angry, scared, lifeless and dumb piece of shit that was scared of going home. When I first saw my wife, I didn’t even look at her, and I wish I could see her for the first time again. We didn’t get together until after I was out of the Army and that is perfect to me, because when I finally did see her, I felt like I earned it. When you’re in the Army, you don’t have a relationship with anyone besides the guy next to you because they’re the only ones that know you.
Author’s note: I know that there were some happy people in the military that truly felt loved by someone else. I just never knew any.