"Why did you join?"
"I love my country! I love helping people. I love being able to protect my family and friends."
"But it stresses you out."
"Yeah, because there are idiots that keep getting promoted and don't know how to tell if it's raining, while it's raining!"
"Do you consider yourself a murderer?"
"No, I haven't killed anymore. In fact, I almost got a medal for saving someone's life. I didn't want it, I tried to fight it. It was really nothing. They gave me a ribbon instead. So now I have a bronze oak leaf."
"So you re-enlisted?"
"Yep, I want to make sure soldiers don't have the same crappy leadership I had. I want to make sure they have someone to talk to."
"Yeah, this soldier was scared he was going to be trapped at the bottom of a long hill because of snow. He convinced himself that moving his car was going to be best. I reminded him that our orders were to stay put (I was in charge btw). He was getting himself all worked up because our leadership had not returned. I walked him through the pros and cons and he decided he should move his car. So I walked with him back in the barracks and told him I would watch him drive away, incase he crashed, I wanted to make sure he would be safe and I would be there for him."
"Did he do it? Move is car?"
"He was halfway there when I told him leadership was coming back. I was telling him the whole time to do what he thought was the right thing, but to really think it through. He stopped, calmed down, and smiled seeing the vehicles approaching. Then he realized the roads were not that bad. He realized that the decision he was about to make was wrong and thanked me for talking it out with him. I smiled as he walked back into barracks."
"You were going to let him do something potentially bad, against orders?"
"Yes. He is an adult. Sometimes people just need to talk stuff out or just start what they think is correct. I hate micromanage. He just needed to work it out in his head."
"What stuff happened to you earlier in your career?"
"I almost had an NCO sexual assault me, but I got out of the situation. Since he didn't touch me and he was drunk, I didn't report it...some regret, but I was new. I had an NCO tell me God wanted my friend to kill himself. I had another one almost drive to suicide after he harassed me all weekend and called me a liar. I learned how not to lead people, I have seen and experienced what happens with toxic leadership. I refuse to be that!"
"So what now?"
"Now? I shoot for twenty years. I get in better shape. I make sure I help those above me and become the example for those below me. Now, I learn everyday to become better."
"Thank you for your sacrifice."
"You're welcome, thanks for the support"