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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2015  12:44:53 PM

Love, camaraderie, brotherhood: Among reasons to be thankful this upcoming holiday season

Email   Print   Share By Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Felt, Command Sgt. Maj., Garrison Command
November 18, 2010 | Editorial
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner!

Unofficially, Thanksgiving serves as the official kickoff to the holiday season. As we approach the season I encourage everyone to spend some extra time relaxing, contemplating and celebrating. Reflect on the aspects of life that you value and are thankful for.

I, for one, am thankful for my Army family. One thing I have learned through my Army career is that the Army family: Soldiers, family members and Department of Army civilians, make up the greatest group of folks imaginable! The camaraderie, esprit de corps and brotherhood found in our Army is unmatched.

Each of us has examples of how a member of our Army family has come forward to assist in times of trouble for no other reason than a Soldier needed help. Often, people who hardly knew each other came together just because of their connection through the Army.

My favorite story to illustrate this point is about a young lieutenant leading his platoon on a mission in Vietnam. Upon enemy contact, the lieutenant established a base of fire with his platoon and assisted in the company consolidating its position. The lieutenant leading the adjacent platoon was failing in his efforts to finalize the consolidation of the company’s base of fire. The young lieutenant moved to his brother platoon leader to influence the action of his platoon.

“The first time I got shot was when I ran over to the other lieutenant to motivate him to accomplish the task at hand. The second time I got shot was when I stood up to run back to my platoon. Out of nowhere, a young Soldier I had never met before in yet another platoon left his covered and concealed position to run to my aid. He lifted me up and as he carried back to the platoon, he got shot. We were evacuated together on the same aircraft, and I never saw him again.”

This story was relayed to me by the “young lieutenant,” who isn’t so young anymore. In fact, he is a respected leader in our community and has served his community, our Army and our nation well. The reason I love the story so much is it illustrates the love, camaraderie and brotherhood that exists within the Army.

The young Soldier risked his life to save the life of another Soldier purely because he needed him. It wasn’t based on blood relationship; it wasn’t based on friendship; they had never even met! It was based solely on the bond that exists between Soldiers. I have seen examples of this bond every day of my Army career. Most are not so heroic, yet everyone stirs in me the pride I have in being a Soldier.

So, this holiday season I plan on kicking back in my rocking chair with a cigar and a glass of my favorite whiskey and reflecting on what matters most in life; and one of the most important things I am thankful for is my Army family.
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