“We shouldn’t be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas.”
― Noam Chomsky
I hate the word “hero.” It’s become cliche’ these days. Everyone who does anything is a hero. There was a time when the title was reserved for those who went above and beyond the call of duty.
Now, anyone who puts on a uniform is a hero. All of the Fobbits who sit on comfy bases in Iraq and Afghanistan and have never taken fire and those who do everything that they can to stay away from combat, we call these people heroes.
I do not apologize for saying this:
The guy who sits on his ass in a TOC for 9-12 months and sends other men out to fight and die IS NOT a hero. He’s an armchair warrior.
A guy who sits on Camp Phoenix and injures himself via his own carelessness is not a hero.
The guy who plans poorly and runs a convoy each and every day at the same time and gets hit by an IED is not a hero. He’s a fool who lazily and irresponsibly put others lives at risk.
A hero is someone who goes out and works his ass off no matter the dangers to ensure that the mission is accomplished. A hero is aware of danger and puts him or herself in harms way regardless.
A hero is someone who is out there taking the fight to the enemy.
Let’s reserve honors for those who deserve it. If everyone in the military was a hero, they’d all have Medals of Honor. There is a reason that they don’t give those out to every Jane, Dick and Henrietta who arrives in theatre.
Being in the military can be a demanding job. It takes one away from one’s family and can lead to enormous deprivation and comes with the POSSIBILITY of great danger. Not everyone, however, faces those dangers. Not even everyone in Afghanistan faces danger. During a tour of duty in Afghanistan, a service member can come out on the other end of his
deployment without ever having faced an iota of real danger.
There is definitely an element of risk in simply being in country. However, that risk for at least 80% of the personnel in country is minimal.
I’ve a notion that this wont to hail everyone as a hero is a result of the MISTREATMENT of Vietnam Veterans. People are over-compensating for that ill-considered behavior by attempting to create this vision of “service as heroism.” Whereas, I believe that heroes are those who act in times when action is requiredas opposed to anyone who happens to volunteer without knowing that into which they are getting themselves.
I know of and know some genuine men and women whom I would call hero. They are, however, far and few between. Most of the folks over here, and I include myself in this, are just blokes with a job.