Take time to smell the flowers

For some reason the following image, and thought, came to mind...

In the winter of 1991, i finally had the opportunity to attend the Army's Air Assault school.  I left with six other soldier's from my unit.  Myself (Anti-Tank Infantryman), three men from our Scout platoon, two from our Admin section, and one from the motor pool.

While it is not nearly as physically rigorous as Airborne school, it has its moments.  Before the formal school began, the instructors began to weed out those who did not REALLY want to be there, and we ran through a three mile obstacle course.  You could not fail to navigate any of the obstacles, but you could get up to two chances for up to two obstacles.  When we all got to the end, we had already lost ten percent of the class.  Most of those who passed, were muddy from head to toe... most of those who didn't were not.  For the rest of that very, very long day, we did push ups, sit ups, flutter kicks, runs of various lengths, and many more "exercises"... at one point i finally experienced muscle failure and i could not do another push up.  No matter how hard i tried, i could not extend my arms.  Soon, i was starring at a pair of boots, and a voice screaming at me, telling me to get up... that if my belt touched the ground, i'd be going home.  I still have no idea how long that went on, but it felt like three hours.

Through out the rest of the course, there were a lot more challenges (the instructors never told us that we could drop our rucks while performing pull ups O.o )... the final challenge, a twelve mile Ruck March, fully loaded, that had to be completed in under three hours.  There was an inspection before the start, and one, right there at the finish line... when i completed the course in 2'49'??' - i had never felt such pain in my muscles before, or since.  After my post march inspection, all that was left was the graduation ceremony, and i headed back to the barracks to pack for the flight home (which i was sure that someone was going to have to wheel me up the ramp to the plane).  As i packed, i looked around the barracks, everyone was drenched from the inside out.  Not one pair of boots would have passed the most casual of inspection.  I was nose deaf at this point, but, i imagined it smelled like a well used sports locker room.  By the time the graduation ceremony started, there were less than half of us left.  (Note:  it was me, and the two Admin 'pukes' who graduated... and i never let the Scout Platoon forget it either)

The thought that came to my mind is this...

No one ever grows by avoiding the pain... the mess... the absolute filth of crawling through the cr@p of your own life... but, those who reach the end... those who went through the most disgusting of battles... they smell the sweetest.

1 comment:

Amy L Buitendyk said...
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