Dispelling those military myths

There are a lot of military misconceptions out there. Some of them I understand...others make me shake my head.

It’s natural to be curious about things that we don’t understand. And with curiosity comes questions. So I’m always willing to answer when people have queries once they find out that I’m in the military. Some of those inquiries are funny. Some are interesting. Some are shockingly inappropriate. But in being asked those questions, I’ve set out to dispel some military myths. Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked. The good, the bad, and the horrendous.

Q. Have you killed people?

A. No. Some people in the military do, but not all of us have a job that puts us behind a weapon all day. I should also point out, for those soldiers who have had to kill people in the line of duty, this is not a question they enjoy answering. Taking a life is not something soldiers revel in or want to talk about.

Q. Oh…you’re in the air force! Do you fly planes?

A. No. This is the most common question I am asked. The pilots fly planes but as a logistics officer in the air force, my job is to support those flying missions. Not sexy. But that’s it in a nutshell.

Q. Are you guys allowed to go off the base?

A. This question makes me giggle a little bit, until I remember that many militaries across the world have more strict rules. We are allowed off the base and we don’t have to live there if we don’t want to. But sometimes, when you’re on course, you aren’t allowed to even leave the barracks except to go to meals. I have to tell you, after 6 weeks looking at the same people, the same walls, and looking out the same window, you get on the brink of hating the world! Ha.

Q. What do you guys eat?

A. This may sound like a ridiculous question, but it’s often the first thing kids want to know. Obviously, we eat the same things as any other person on an average day. But when we’re in the field, we eat Individual Meal Packs, packaged meals that are designed to feed you on the go. You put the meal package in hot water until it heats up, tear it open and dig in! Check out this link to read more about IMPs:  Some of them are tasty…others make you groan when you see the label. If in doubt, avoid the “Cheese Omelette” at all costs. You will gag. I promise you. To top it all off, each meal is about 3200 calories!!! Try dieting on that! But when in the field, your activity level is so high that you beg for every single bite. Even if it is the Cheese Omelette.

Q. Do you love what you do?

A. Like any job, the military has pros and cons. I don’t like that I don’t have roots anywhere. I don’t like that I don’t get to decide where I’ll live, when I’ll see Mark and what job I’ll do. But I love the order, the respect and the camaraderie. I like helping people and going home everyday feeling that I’ve done something worthwhile. I love serving my country.

So hopefully I’ve dispelled some myths and provided some insight.

And please, take my Cheese Omelette warning to heart.