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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Answers - #1

The Boy asked:

"From the outside, what looks like the hardest thing about army life is the time away from family. Is that true, and if not, what do you find most difficult about the army life?"

This is a really tricky one. When I first joined up the time away was a major attraction, but of course at the time I was young(ish) free and single. In many ways, yes, the time away these days is the hardest thing - probably more so for the family than for me as whenever I'm away I have friends with me. But yes it's hard breaking your kids hearts on a regular basis.

Other things I find hard:

  1. Never really being able to put down roots - again something that was an attraction 12 years ago has now become a negative point.
  2. Having a very green 2Lt fresh from training telling you to do something which you know is particularly stupid and them not listening to a word you have to say - although I assume that applies to most jobs in one form or another.
Keep the questions coming!


Blogger The Boy said...

Most of my life I was fairly rootless. As a child it didn't bother me much, as I was rootless with my family. As a young man, like you, that was part of the game. Now though, I've been in the same place 10 years and I wouldn't have it any different. That's got to be hard.

The 2Lt scenario exists in all walks of life, though I think is a bit more prevalent in the Army. Still, regardless of age, taking orders you know are wrong is always hard.

6:52 pm  
Blogger toastedeggbanjo said...

I couldn't and wouldn't bring up a familiy within the military, if you think you are rootless think of the child, a good friend of mine was called Taff, but he never lived or spent more that a week or so at a time in Wales, hes dad was Welsh and a WO2, if he didn't adopt his dads background he would have none.

After tht birth of my first it was painfull seeing how much a child grows up in the short time you may be a away, I'm talking a week or two in civi street, 6 months is a killer.

Subalterns, thats 2Lts to you, are alright as long as they know there place, thats the job of the WO2 (CSM,SSM,BSM etc) weak one and the subbies will be a pain, strong one and they learn very quickly that the most important people to them is their Corporals (or equivalent), I have had many a Sandhurst trained brew boy in my time. Treat them with the contempt they diserve as no matter whats on their shoulders (or chests nowadays) they are still sprogs and know feck all until they become Captains, the decent one know that their commisions are granted on sufferance and they are still learning the role

8:49 am  
Blogger PI said...

Would you, with all your experience and knowledge, encourage your son to follow an army career?

11:52 am  
Blogger savante said...

Ouch. I guess there are some sacrifices to be made.


7:14 am  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

Little Caz was about to join up when she met me. She'd have made a good RSM!

11:53 am  
Anonymous randomguy said...

In the army, do you come across many people who have simply had enough of the civilian job market and what it has to offer? Is there discrimination for people who sign up "later" in their lives?

6:47 pm  
Blogger toastedeggbanjo said...


I know the question isn't aimed at me but I can give an answer

Its quite common for people to join up late, in my intake in 87 there was a 26 and a 27 year old, joke was that one of our instructors got made up to Sergeant during the training and he was 25, which made those lads feel a bit old

Older troops bring a lot to the army, sometimes its good to have an older head in the lower ranks as they have more life experience and a bunch of 18 yr olds, not matter how well you train them, will always fall a little short when it come to maturity. Are they discriminated against ? not at all, in fact they seem to join the promotion ladder quicker, however please mind that your overall career may be capped as you won't have the time in service to go all the way.

Only problem with older folk is expectation, they often have issues dealing with the mundane things in life, the stupid pointless orders and having a younger person whose never dealt with a gas bill or know any other job than the army in charge of you, its all about knowing your place.

Out of interest there is a book out called Squaddie: A Soldier's Story by Steven McLaughlin about a lad who joined the infantry aged 30 which may answer some questions

4:41 pm  
Anonymous randomguy said...


Cheers for the response. I'll be 26 when the time comes to make the decision. Never gave the military much thought until recently. Looks by far the best option available now though.

5:56 pm  
Blogger Universal Soldier said...

RandomGuy - sorry to take so long to get back. I agree with what eggbanjo says. I was early twenties when I joined and a 3-4 years older than the average. If anything you'll find it easier purely because you will be a bit more mature. What are you considering joining?

7:58 am  

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