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Soldier 4 Life

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Soldiers 4 Life At VA Hospital

The strangest thing occurred to me this morning…I thought to myself..”it felt normal to be in combat and it feels abnormal to be in a safe community where no one is trying to kill me”. After typing it I’m thinking the same thing that you probably are….‘This Sounds Crazy”!

I’m not a mental health professional but from what I’ve read this is not an uncommon or abnormal feeling. Many soldiers experience these feelings, therefore loved ones often may hear them say..”I wish I was back down range”. Comments such as this, and behaviors which appear to be odd or different from when your love one went on a deployment, are often red flags( or symptoms indicating that there is an adjustment problem). I’m interested in hearing from others about your experience with retuning home from deployment or transitioning from the military service .

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Today I went down the block to check on my Mom and Dad. It’s been extremely cold here, and we got several inches of snow this morning so I wanted to make sure they are ok. Before I went inside to see how they were doing, I started shoveling the driveway and sidewalks in front of their house; another realization upon returning home…they have gotten old and can no longer do these things for themselves.

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Once I finished shoveling I went inside and was asked a usual question from my Mother…”Do You Want Breakfast”? I’m pretty sure I said something like, “No I’m good”… but somehow that must have translated into her hearing, “I’m hungry”, because she just started preparing me a plate of food. It actually turned out to be a good thing because as I sat down with her to eat we started talking about cooking and various recipes. We reminisced about one of my favorite uncles who has passed away and how good his cooking was so great. It seems as though these days when I get in the kitchen and go to work, cooking relaxes me. It takes my mind off getting out of the Army and has turned into a stress reliever of sorts.( which is rather comical because for 30 years of military life I rarely ever cooked and if I did it was not fit for consumption).

So today food was on my mind, which meant that the less productive thoughts were not. I’m loving the fact that my new found hobby is something I can have in common with my mom who is turning 80 soon; it’s also a fun way to get closer to my teenage daughter. (she enjoys being in the kitchen helping me and it bonds us closer together). I think having a hobby or new interest is very important to my transition; I don’t know what kind of feelings I’ll have tomorrow but I’m glad I thought of Food today.

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Click the link below for a wonderful recipe. I’m looking forward to you sharing your experience with us.

http://www.everydaymaven.com/2012/garlic-rubbed-roasted-cabbage-steaks/

King Ty

Peace & Love!

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20 15 has started with the angel of death visiting the families of three of my close childhood friends in the span of one week. Days when my mind is not occupied as much I have experienced a flurry of emotions that sometimes become very intense. I can be alone watching television at home and all of a sudden a snapshot of deceased soldiers or friends pop into my head. I think as soldiers we tend to become comfortable with the thought of death in the performance of our duties.

When we loose a comrade the fact that we operate in teams or large groups often helps with getting through the grieving process. I can’t explain it, but as a Veteran it seems different somehow. I think its because the camaraderie and cohesion found in military ...

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Snow Day In New York

It’s an incredible feeling the moment when you realize how much you’ve taken life for granted but you still have time to fix it. As the saying goes.. “Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees”. I’ve been trying to focus on the big picture rather than be bogged down with life’s little distractors. It’s not always easy because just like anyone else I also have good days and bad days.

Today finally came the realization that I can still be a good Son, Husband, Father, and Citizen; and that I’m not too old to create meaningful friendships, and contribute to my local community. Once I got out of the snow and the uncomfortable dreary feeling was behind me the thinking process took a turn. Getting inside the house during a snow day allowed me the time to be in another environment which was conducive to reflection; and realize that I still have time to fix it if I just get started today.

I’m interested in your story of taking people or circumstances in your life for granted and your efforts to fix it.

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Going Inside To Reflect

The most difficult part of my transition is to remember that not everyone I meet these days, especially family members, is a trained group of Soldiers who will jump to attention when I enter a room; in fact that does not happen anymore. The reality is that I often feel like a fish out of water after I’ve spent four years as a Platoon Sergeant, six straight years as a First Sergeant and five years as a Command Sergeant Major. That is a total of 15 consecutive years of being in the premiere leadership positions where the rubber meets the road; and in the trenches with soldiers at the tactical level. I was expected to get Soldiers and units to move towards the Commanders objectives even if it cost us our lives, and I was often in harm...

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I miss the friendships and team concept which is very powerful in military life. During my time in the army I was vehemently against Facebook, especially my final two years as a Battalion Command Sergeant Major. My Commander was trying his best to convince me that it was a great way to communicate to our soldiers and their families; but I was not buying into it at all. One day while stationed in Germany I was sitting with my middle daughter and looking at her Facebook page. We sat for hours looking at pictures of my oldest daughter and other family members; it was then that I decided I would give it a try. It’s almost a year since that day and I’m very happy I made the decision to get connected. Now that I’m out of the ...

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When I first started my transition out of the military I was so physically and emotionally drained that I felt like a character in some zombie movie. I had given everything I could give when the realization finally set in that my career which spanned over three decades was now over. Life for my peers and friends in the military was not changing, and still moving at a fast pace; but I was now out of the game. I started to withdraw; and actually began to think I will not affiliate with anything or anyone resembling my former life as a soldier once I got back to my home town. This type thinking was actually counter productive and led to destructive behavior. The opposite approach is what is now helping me immensely, connecting to people and...

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Yesterday I had one of those weird kind of days. The morning started off very good with me being motivated to work on my new business that I’m trying to develop. Then later in the afternoon I went down to visit my Mom; we chatted about various things and had a good conversation. She has been really pushing me to be the catalyst for a family reunion later this year so I’ve been keeping her updated on the progress. Mom said she was going to cook as I was leaving; and she always likes for my family to come over to eat when she cooks. As I departed out the back door; I told her after we go to the High School Basketball game we would be back.

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High School Basketball

I’m now the designated transportation specialist for the family, so I then went to pick up “The Freshman” from school(my 9th grade daughter);”The Collegiate”(my College age daughter); and my wife from work. No issues up to this point; I’m still feeling good. My mental picture of the rest of the evening went something like this: The Family goes to the High School basketball game; and then we all go over to my moms for dinner, and enjoy a great evening together. However there was a slight problem; everyone else had a different vision on how the evening would go. Once I had everyone in the car I announced; “we are going to the Basketball game”…to which my wife reply’s “The Collegiate wants to get her nails done”…..there went my day. Not exactly sure why I get so frustrated about little things like that; but thank God for High School Basketball because not only did a great game put me in a better mood….but the fact I ran into two old friends from my school days was a joyous occasion.

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High School Sports Buddies

I’m interested in hearing if anyone else has those moments of frustration that seem to be for no apparent reason, and if so maybe you can share some productive methods of dealing with it. I’m going to talk to my counselor about it and I hope you would do the same if needed. Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog and share your thoughts…remember the discussion is part of the healing process…Hooah!

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It’s truly amazing how life is such a complex series of unpredictable events for most of us. I remember days as a kid that my mom could not pay the rent and she feared that we would be put on the streets. Those memories have fueled me with a passion to help others who face those circumstances. Upon leaving the military I reconnected with several childhood friends whom I had not seen or talked to in many years. One such friend I don’t think I’ve seen or talked to since we were in high school over thirty years ago. The reconnection occurred because I was seeking to do some community service and was interested in reaching out to a nearby homeless shelter.To my surprise I was informed that my old friend just happened to be ...

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