When the coffee clutch got together the other day at Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida, the conversation turned to the commitment to country and the commitment to family. Some of our military are doing both and, at times, this becomes painful and alarming. Can the new troops with all this technology in this digital age deal with deployment and the family left at home and do the best of his or her job? Do our new warriors make mistakes that cost them or their comrades in arms more harm than warriors of the past? That question will continue as new technologies are developed and new wars and conflicts arise.

Some of those around the table mentioned that they were single when deployed and that they thought that their job in the military was enhanced because of the fact that they had no family back home to worry about. Others that were married mentioned that because of family back home their job was better performed. They thought the safety of themselves and those around them in battle made them more efficient.

So, the bottom line on this argument is: There is no true answer to the question that is black and white. Warriors in all conflicts are made up of men or women that bring to the table the training and personal experiences that will make for a fighting person and group that clicks and works like a well-oiled machine, or not. How this all works out is the magic that occurs in the field of battle. The stories are endless and as varied as the number of people who tell them. The loved ones at home also tell stories that run the whole spectrum of colors and are as varied as those deployed.

One thing is certain, the military year after year are the ones that we, as a nation rely on to do a job that is so unique that our country holds them to a higher level and praises them on a regular basis. With that said, our government also, at times, takes advantage of our military and the veterans that return home. That is the reason that many organizations like the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, VFW, Legion and Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida exist today. These organizations and others are there, not only as a place to congregate and enjoy each other company but they are there to advocate for our veterans and their families when our federal government or any of its departments fall down on the job of caring for our troops. These organizations are there to support when little or no support is given by the ones that should be the first to support.

Warriors are a special breed in the service, whether they were drafted or volunteered, because when in battle they sacrifice for the good of others. This is more than the fight itself; it is about service to our community and our nation. Obviously not all are of same mind and that makes for an interesting dilemma in the field. I have always believed that warriors that engage in the arts, song and life pleasures, not always in bravado and machismo, are the ones that bring a true balance that makes our military special and strong.

When we think of war, we think of the fight itself with the gore that comes with conflict, but it is so much more than that. It is a mindset, a form of intellectual self-control that brings the warrior to continue when lesser folk fail. I know that some of you might question my ability to access a warrior’s mind, considering I was not one, but in the capacity of back up (Air Force- aircraft electronics) for those that were true warriors in the battles. Well, I had the pleasure to befriend as much as one could, those that fought the battles beyond the wire. I was the ear for those that lived the acts of battle and came back to vent and unload their experiences. I remember the complexities of what was the mindset of battle and the thoughts of home and the balancing act of both worlds. I remember those conversations because they were special in the passion of delivery and the seriousness of the issues. I was blessed in being there for them. In any case I learned much from those that actually were the warriors and I learn more each and every day from our coffee clutch and from the tables of camaraderie at places true warriors share.

“War is cruelty, and none can make it gentle.” — Gilbert Parker (a Politician- go figure!!!).

Ronald Verini is a local veterans advocate who writes a weekly column for The Argus Observer. He can be contacted at (541) 889-1978, help@veteranadvocates.org or 180 W. Idaho Ave., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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