Thursday, June 30, 2005

Assurances and Reality...

The feelings are I suppose a moment of emptiness, a moment of “imagine if I didn’t come back and I could never see Beth again… my family or my friends...” just that moment of thought causes a great empty feeling inside and mixed emotions of worry. I wouldn’t say worry of not coming back but worry of not seeing them again, sounds strange but its hard to explain. The best way to explain the surreal feeling is we all had a barbeque at our friends Ben and Sharon, it was a great day the sun was out and the beer was flowing thick and fast. For a moment I sat down and the thought popped in my head “its not long till I leave and we won’t be doing this again before then so imagine if this is the last time ever in my life I’m going to be sat here having a barbeque getting wasted with my mates..” That’s surreal because it would be easy to sit down and do that and imagine if you got hit by a bus after the barbeque but you know that’s highly unlikely. When you know the potential is real and you have a moment of thought like that it does hit home, in an unexplainable fashion. I actually mentioned to Warner what I had just been thinking and he just looked at my and said “Already been there mate…”. I could see that look in his eyes I recognised it as that unexplainable feeling I’d had. The names of those selected to go to Iraq were read out at TA last Tuesday me and Warner were on the hit list, I was glad because we all finally new for definate we were going as I think you just need that concrete “PTE Hubbard” being called out in such a way so then you know 100% your going so you can start preparing your life. The good news was out of the list of names called they were all good blokes and allot of experience between them, Iraq, Afghanistan. I don’t know all of them really well but I know enough to know I would trust them all and all the NCO’s going are good blokes that know there shit. As me and Warner are still at the bottom of the food chain it seems the job allocation has rendered us as Gunners, basically Minimi gunners for the whole tour. Then again that’s just provisional it could all change in the 8 weeks pre-training, I’d like to try and get trained as a driver and medic leaving more options and possibilities of going out on some of the good jobs when people are ill etc over the 6 months, the more strings to your bow the more opportunities there will be. Just after the announcement was made by captain Crooke we had an intelligence brief, one of our annual requirements. As with most PowerPoint slide shows these days the person who’s put the presentation together put a few video clips in to keep our interest and spice it up. In this particular presentation there was short video found by British forces in Iraq only about 4 months previously, the content was a recruitment video for suicide bombers made by insurgents. It was all in Arabic but you got the gist visually, the bombers in a room together praying and congratulating each other on there soon to be death and passages to there god. Then a video of a bomber getting into a truck and then following the truck all the way to a massive detonation. The detonation was raw and graphic. I think I held my breath for a few seconds again sensing the graphic reality of where we were all headed. I took a look around the room and there were several stony faces all transfixed to the screen and you could see in there faces they were having a brief moment of reality like me. One thing I have noticed and I suppose it comes with the territory being in the TA is the mis-understanding and non realisation of what we’re actually doing by the general Joe public. Since we’ve had the definite 100% “Yes your going”. The comments vary and in all fairness most people do understand. However the ones who don’t they really manage to insult me but by that I don’t mean any offence as these words are not meant that strongly but I can’t think of another way of expressing the feeling, with comments varying from “So are you going to be helping the Army while your out there”, we are the Army….!! “Are they going to let you have a gun, I know some of the TA get to use guns some times” Insulting and patronising…. To be fair though its not any ones fault they think this way as its just the wide spread lack of knowledge and ancient views on the TA “the weekend warriors” shared by most of the British public, just a bunch of blokes trying to play soldiers. It’s never actually explained in great detail to the public to what degree the TA are needed within the armed forces and how well trained we really are. If the TA didn’t exist then all the people who don’t understand and maybe don’t want to understand would have realisation first hand as there loved ones are conscripted due to there being no Army to carry out these roles around the world. Then there’s the people whose family’s husbands, wives, boyfriends etc have been in the regulars for years and they’ve heard all the talk and banter about the TA. One particular question was “so are you having any training!!?” sounding very startled, “yes about 8 weeks” and then a laughed response “8 weeks?” I new exactly what was meant how can we go out there after only 8 weeks training as we’re just TA surely we won’t cope this opinion based purely on ancient views and old fashioned barrack banter by regulars about the TA. The TA is part of the British Army 10,000 TA troops have been through Iraq over the 3 years of a force sizing at about 10,000 in total. We’re going out as an Infantry company to do an Infantry job the same as the regulars because for 9 months we are regulars as we are no different to them, we’re trained to the same standard and do the same work with the same risks. Well we may get paid a bit more as you’ve got anything from solicitors and police men to plumbers and MacDonald workers all working as infantry soldiers but the wages are normally made up to a standard your used to, that’s just another perk of the TA along with the fact that after our tour we can just go back to our jobs and carry on with a normal home life for the years to come...

2 Comments:

Anonymous Debarooooo said...

I have great respect to men and women who serve in the TA. My dad once being with them for 16 years. For a long time i never understood what the TA was about, i was just kid and to me, i just thought dad was in the army, but had a civilian job as well as his army job.

Again joe public doesn't have the faintest idea about what the TA is about. I'm sorry to say that anyone who doesn't realise what the TA is and askes silly questions such as: - do you get a gun, i'm afraid to say are just single minded. People are afraid of the unknown and tend to mock it rather than look someone in the face and say "could you tell me about, i don't know what it is about".

To me the TA have had a partnership with the Army for a long long time. They are not beneath them in any sort of way. To me they work just a hard as the people in the Army, RAF, etc etc.

Hubby i don't know what to say to you mate. Without trying to sound condesending, i'm proud of you. Your achieving a dream, something that you once thought was lost to you has now been found.

I wish you luck in your journey and although this might sound like madness to other folk, i hope you enjoy your time their. Remember to find something good about the experience something that you can look back on in the future and smile about. It's one of the greater things about life that we forget from time to time. Life is simple and short, but all you have to grasp it with both hands and then you can say "I did this"!!!!

Deb
p.s Sorry for ramberling on a bit, got carried away! ha

8:56 am  
Blogger Mike Hubbard said...

Nice one debarooo.... No point appologising to me about rambeling!! you've just read my ramble!! :O)

9:10 am  

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