The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

A Reflection for Veteran’s Day

When I left the Navy in 2006, I spent about a year and a half trying to get a civilian job in Iraq.

Not for the money. But because I felt I hadn’t “done enough.”

My job in the military was strictly administrative; for the majority of my time in, I was behind a desk. I didn’t stand very many watches, and I was a duty officer for my first department as an E-2 and E-3. I was spoiled. Being on my ship’s Flying Squad (read: firefighting team) was more than just a way to get out of the office…it was a way for me to actually contribute something besides evaluations and letters.

I HATED shore duty (or, more accurately, hated it where I was at). I wanted to be back in the fight. Many of the guys from my ship (I worked in the medical department my last two years) began making their first (of many, for some)tours on the ground. I wanted that.

Volunteered for every TAD assignment that came up; got shot down (including one in Iraq that my XO pulled the plug on). Finally volunteered to go to Gitmo-to drive another desk, mind you-and got to go. For me, it was the closest to the War on Terror that I would get.

And even that wasn’t enough…still felt the need to do more.

I struggled with that feeling as a civilian for a while. One day in DC at an event, I happened to share my feelings with another veteran who had done three tours in Iraq. It’s been a while, and I don’t remember his name, but I still carry his words in my head:

“I don’t care what you did…you could’ve cleaned shitters for your whole career. Your service is no better than mine, and mine is no better than yours. You put on a uniform that few people are willing to, and wore it honorably. Be proud of that.”

And from then on, I was.

Happy Veteran’s Day to those who served, are serving, and to those waiting on their return.

And especially to my fellow desk-drivers.




Written by Coby Dillard

November 11, 2010 at 8:00 am

Posted in Editorials

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