I know this guy, let’s call him Bob, and he’s a bureaucrat… Sits in a comfy government office all day, working on paperwork and dealing with members of the public, many of whom probably hate him for being what he is, by day. See, the thing is, Bob got his “cushy government job” by having the experience of leadership in the US Military. It’s easier to work for the government when you already are used to it, and they look for people who used to be military because, well, they’re damned good workers.
Bob isn’t all that intimidating to look at… He’s fit, and he keeps himself in shape, to the point that a lot of people who don’t know about his second job probably think he’s some kind of fitness nut. All the time he’s jogging, or working out, and watches his diet and stays trim and lean. Because, you see, that’s what the US Military still requires of him. After many years of active duty, and then a stint in the civilian world, Bob decided to join the reserves to make a difference. It was a place he understood, and with his degree he got as a civilian, he was officer material when he decided to go back. You’d never guess that Bob is a very special beast… A Direct Commissioned Officer… It takes the recommendation of a Congressperson to make it happen… Civilians who have special skills that are critical to sustaining military operations, supporting troops, health and scientific study may receive what are called “direct commissions.” These officers usually occupy leadership positions in the following areas: law, science, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nurse corps, intelligence, supply-logistics-transportation, engineering, public affairs, chaplain corps, oceanography, merchant marine affairs, and others. Bob does so, and is damned proud of it.
What Bob does is so important that every person in the his Reserve unit will or has gone to war. Iraq, Afghanistan, the Sand Box… And Bob is no different. He’s about to go over to the other side of the world, into the midst of a war zone, to, well, do his job. And he’s chomping at the bit to go. It’s what he’s trained for, it’s what he’s good at, it’s what he loves to do. He does not go without reservations… Most of the people who know him aren’t even being told he’s leaving… You see, feral dogs go after the families that people like Bob leave behind… The wives, the kids, the families who stay at home, and pray, and are proud of the job men and women like Bob are doing. They sit for entire deployments praying not to receive a certified letter, or a sedan full of military officers and their family preacher, or to get a call that the man or woman they love has been wounded and is being airlifted out. And those dogs have sharp teeth, but there are friends and family and loved ones who do their best to keep the family safe so that Bob does not have to worry while he’s half a world away with people all around who just don’t like him because of who he works for, and enforce it with bullets and bombs and other nastiness.
Men like Bob are the truest form of patriot. Bob doesn’t even much care for the current administration, but he doesn’t let that stop him. These people love what our country represents so much that they are willing to put their butts on the line to keep it intact. I am damned proud to have known Bob most of our lives, and damned proud to say that I’ll be keeping an eye out for the feral dogs for him. And I will pray for his safe return every day, so that other people will have the honor of knowing him. Bob, every person I have known personally who went to war has come home, and I expect you to do the same. Preferably intact! Though I can’t name your name, you are appreciated and loved and will be in my prayers every night. Thank you for what you are about to do. Most people don’t give a damn, but I do. Good Hunting.