Sunday, 18 December 2011

What does it mean to be a Soldier?

For many of you you will be thinking what a strange title, but all will become apparent soon as it does have a little bit to do with the hobby world.

For many of you, you will know I am in the British Army due to the fact it is on my profile and I comment on it when I have either been away or have had a busy week. But for some of you it is new. Now I have been in the Army for 12 years which for some people would seem a long time, and why would you spend so long doing it? well the truth is I enjoy what I do, it's the challenge of facing something different each day, taking command and dealing with a situation. Now for you guy's here in the UK I am known as what you call a Section Commander so in other words I am a Corporal. Now for you in the US I guess I would be the equivalent of a Sergeant, but I guess you guy's will correct me on that. (By the way I am glad you are all out of Iraq now it has been a long and hard campaign for both of us, and I pray for those that have lost their lives or been injured.)

Now I guess you will all be wondering when is he going to the point. Well keep reading and I will get there. Now I came to doing this post after watching an episode of the new Battlestar Galactia, now trust me when I say I like the new series and the old originals they both have their advantages and disadvantages, but that is for another time. But it is after watching the episode named Hero.

Now for those of you that are not sure of the story line or can't remember it is the one where Bulldog returns after spending three years as a prisoner with the Cylons. It is also the episode were Admiral Adama gets a medal for 45 years of service, and were he tries to hand his notice in but gets told to do one. But it's the end scene that got me and made me do this post. The end scene goes like this Colonel Tie walks into Admiral Adama's room looking all lost and not sure why he is there, saying "I here you got a medal" Adama says "you get them for all sorts of thing's these days" and gives a list. But it's now when the title of this post really hits me. Adama says to Tie "why are you here" Tie "I don't know" and turns to leave. Adama "What happened to Helen" (which was Colonel Tie's wife) Tie responding with "I could do with a drink". That is were the episode end's.

Now I don't mean that soldiers all sit down saying I don't know and get drunk. What I am trying to say is that as soldiers we are there for one another, now sometimes a little drink helps but in some situations soilders will just come out with it. So when I say what does it mean to be a soldier, I mean that we are there for one another, not just for our country, head of state, or the mission. It's the fact of when the chip's are down and the situation is grim and when you look left or right the man next to you is always there, no matter who he is. I would say I have proved it in this post when I have praised the US for what they have done and the sacrifice they have made in Iraq. Now I have never met any of the guy's that have sadly died or their family's, people injured, or people that have just left. But because we are brother's in arms and do the same job it is right to do so, as we know what it is like to serve and what it is like to loose. This is also true for any of the other Nation's we serve along side in conflict or peace time. Please don't get upset and annoyed that I am not saying this not the same in every day life, because it is. Not just in the other Public Services but in the private sector to. It's just more apparent in the Armed Services.

It is also apparent in the hobby with it being in normal life, with us supporting each other in blog's, competition's, or friendly games. But it is apparent in the story's that are written, and no more so than in the Imperial Guard stories.

So I apologise for the weirdness of this post, and I will endeavour not to do one again like it. But I would appreciate any thoughts and comments you guy's have. 


  1. Well said. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have on many occasions considered the connections between military service and table top gaming. I haven't made it very clear on my blog but in my first post I mentioned that I was ex Navy (in Australia) and now I'm finishing a doctorate in psychology as a civilian (and I tend to over analyse things a bit).

    Conflict like that in Iraq is hard to rationalise. I think that rule based Games are such a useful tool for psychological health. But that's a side point.

    I totally agree with you. We can complement our allies on what they have been doing and it means something because of the shared experience.

    And it's the same in our small niche of gaming. I can say well done on your pith helmet cos I have tried to paint a pith helmet where the average 40k gamer hasn't.

    It's funny that while my wife can complement my models, if a stranger from another country that I know little about complements them, it means so much more.

    Cheers Commissar Dave.

  2. Some times a trooper has to ramble. The reply is usually a smart comment or a nod and smile. The ramblings appreciated. So Ill drop a shot tonight, and add the Brits to my list...

  3. Col Ackland,

    Thank's and it's good to see that someone else has also served, I think it helps to understand what I have written that little bit easier.

    I also agree with what you say about escaping the real life for a short while, and may be just may be that's why I have been doing the hobby for so long. But I also feel it's nice to complement each other, as this is what spurs us on to do more.


    Thanks for looking at my Blog, and leaving a comment. But you know what the say "A soldier moaning about something is a happy soldier. It's when they are not moaning that something is wrong."

    But yes you are right we do normally have to have a rant, and yes sometimes it does get a smart comment, or a smile and a nod. I feel in this case you have given both, and hats of to you sir.

  4. Well said and thank you for your service sir.