Well, I’ve been back in the States for a little over a month and had time to recharge and reflect on my time serving as USARCENT Bands LNO. Besides the invaluable experience I gained working on the USARCENT staff, I came away with a few important lessons:
1. It takes more than “trigger pullers” to accomplish the mission. There are a lot of smart, dedicated people in theater working to support those that daily risk their lives to accomplish the mission. I’ve seen it first-hand and it’s impressive.
2. We have a lot in common with our foreign partners. It’s easy to focus on the things that are different between the U.S. and our foreign allies; when you meet people face-to-face, it’s equally easy to see what we have in common. That gives me hope.
3. What “hot” really means. Yeah, 90 degrees is not hot; 125 degrees is.
4. Music is an important combat multiplier. I’ve seen so many examples of this over the years but it certainly was solidified even more during my deployment. Seeing service members react to hearing a military band play for them or the immediate connection (through music) made with people from another culture (and the strategic implications thereof) were crystal clear reminders of this.
5. I really miss being at a band. I truly value my experience overseas…and have learned a lot at the School of Music…but it will be really nice to be at a band again…eventually.
6. I can go seven months without drinking a glass of wine…I’d just rather not do it again.