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Becoming mentally "army strong"

November 22, 2010 | Cadet Ryan Slate

The term “Army Strong” has become a commonly used term among American popular culture since the war in the Middle East had begun. Hearing stories about the trials soldiers face today has shown me that mental strength is required more than ever compared to the physically strong army of the past. Officers in the Army need to be experts in all aspects of their duty

After graduating from high school in 2006 and enrolling at the University of Akorn, my first interaction with veterans of this war took place. I observed a professionalism and maturity that did not exist among my peers. I knew that to break out of my jock/frat boy lifestyle I would need to find a higher calling for my life and apply myself to it 100%. Becoming a soldier looked like the best route to success. I would learn vital skills and gain access to the strongest network of brothers in the world.

In the fall of my second year I was faced with the option of enlisting on active duty or remaining a college student and joining the ROTC program. I knew that with the skills I possessed I could be successful in either route. Enlisting would require dropping the life and relationships I lead to serve and my personal courage at the time kept me from leaving. The ROTC route would allow me to grow mentally and physically along with preparing me to take that professional position I always wanted.

As a new cadet in ROTC the most highly pushed topic is PT. I took to this like a fish to water. Being a soldier meant taking on tasks that would push my body to the limit and with aspirations of becoming an Infantry officer defeating the enemy on the battlefield became my number one goal. Unfortunately this became detrimental to the mentally strong skills that officership requires. Over my next few years the scholarly skills I possessed in high school began to degrade as I lost focus of the task at hand and decided I wanted to be expert in my soldier skills. This came back to hurt me as an MSIII when my final accession took place. My average effort on the assignments given produced average results.

When my senior year began I knew that the grades I earned did not reflect the abilities I possessed. The chance to take charge as a leader among my cadet battalion gave me hope that all my efforts would not be lost. Even though the assignments given by the Army was not what I wanted, my performance has no reason to be any less exceptional. The opportunities ahead of me in the Army would reflect the mental effort I would give.  To become mentally and physically strong, maintaining priorities and learning to balance the task at hand not unforeseen in the future will be the focus of my efforts.



1 Comment

  • sharon
    11/22/2010 8:27 PM
    THANK YOU for all your hard work keeping our country safe and the sacrafices youve made.HAPPY THANKSGIVING your in our prayers

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