I originally signed up for 4 years and never intended to stay any longer. After my time in the Bn and when it was getting close to decide re-up or get out I was having really hard timing doing that. I was standing in a road junction of my life looking for directions and couldn't make up my mind.
First of all, I was a ranger and airborne soldier all the way. Towards the end of my first term I had just gratuated from PLDC as an Distinquised Honor Grad and had a Letter of Acceptance from Ranger School in my hand to be an RI. Not bad for a PFC who got busted for DUI, huh? Many of my buddies were heading to SF and OD, so I knew I'd be going that way too after RD if I stayed in. There were possibilities of maybe joining some other Funny Platoons as well.
Second, as a civilian I had nothing to look forward to. As a civilian I sucked. Many people say I still do. Even so, I decided get out in '85 and had the worst year of my life until then. Later on '95 was in even worse and '05 not much better so I learned life goes in cycles. In between bad times I managed to get two most magnificient sons I could only dream about when young and gong-ho. Today I am not quite so sure at all if I had taken the other more exciting road I'd have them in my life now.
Do I miss my days in the Bn? Hell, yeah! Would I go back? Hell, yeah! But then comes realization that memories have silver lining. I remember also not so great times. When people were fucked with for nothing which always made me wonder why spent all that time and effort and money to train somebody and then just fuck with their minds and careers.
I'm a FOG now, but I know I could still contribute 110% and then some because I have much more wisdom now and that's no BS either (ok, maybe in PT only 100%
) but that's not the point either. It's all about choosing your way and then living it to the max. There's life after Bn (or Rgt) that can be just as challenging and rewarding. It's up to you what you make of your life regardless what has happened before. In extreme, it's about Who's life is worth more than somebody else's? Who should be saved? Answer is, if you remember the Tom Hanks' last words in Saving Private Ryan?, "Earn it"