I was thinking about your description of M’s first unit experience as the FNG. This note’s a little old, but I thought I’d send it anyway.
Entry is rough. Unlike Basic he’s entered a place where everybody except him know each other.
Pile that on top of the STRAC culture of a premiere infantry unit, and it is a whole new world.
My equivalent to M’s first ever unit experience took place in Korea — as a green green know-nothinglieutenant and presumed would-be leader I was a wreck. I remember walking into the chow hall for the first time. That’s where my soldiers got their first eyeful of their new “L-T.” The judgements, the eyebrows, the what-the-fuck for the following year start in those seconds. Would I measure up in their eyes? In my eyes? How stupid is the fucking lieutenant? Someone could lose an eye.
How about your arrival in Hong Kong? I thought back to your entry into Hong Kong and the HK Academy. IIRC, it too was a culture shock. Seemed to me though that by school-year’s end you had found your place, with Mark and a couple of other friends. Am I seeing your experience with rose-colored glasses?
As with any major relationship there will always be a love-hate relationship with, one’s unit and the Army in general.
From what you’ve said it’s clear he has what it takes to be a fine soldier and will prove himself satisfactorily to his unit and leaders. Physical prowess is a fine place to have started.
My sense is that within 3 months he will have found a home of sorts, where there are far fewer unknowns, he will have allies, buddies and a couple or two enemies. Just like anywhere a person goes.