Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Stripes Tell a Story

When I mention "stripes" and the Army, most people would assume I mean rank.  Today I saw something that told a different story, and stopped me in my tracks.

My G got promoted (which in itself is a long story when a soldier has 21 years in, but I digress).  As part of the promotion, he is headed to school and needed to update his Dress Blues to the newer ASU-style dress uniform.  The lady at Clothing/Sales/Alterations was extraordinarily helpful, especially since My G wasn't able to convert his custom-tailored Blues into the new style.

She brought out the jacket below.

Stripes tell a story
Photo not to be used without permission. 

The combat stripes on the left indicate 6 months' each, overseas duty.  Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.  The service stripes on the right indicate three years' each, time in service.

This particular soldier had been in the Army for only 9 years.  He had been deployed for 3 years of that time, at least.  It's possible he had more months than this, but below the next 6 months' stripe.

A full one-third of this soldier's time was spent in combat.

I think there comes a time when we are asking too much of our servicemen and -women. We are blessed to have an all-volunteer service, and yes, they generally "know what they're getting into".  But at what cost?  Are we supporting them enough?  Are we keeping the promise to them?

I wonder what this Soldier's story is, if he's still in the service or if he got medically retired or simply got out.  One third of  his Army life was spent fighting for us, and all I can hope is that someone, somewhere, shows him our gratitude.

What do you think?  Comments are always welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I know this is several years after your post, but I was doing a google search for a picture of the combat stripes for a blog that I was doing, and found your picture, but not on this post. I even, inadvertently, came up with "The Stripes Tell A Story" as part of a title. You can view the post here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stripes-tell-storybut-whole-story-duane-france-ma-ncc-lpcc?trk=mp-author-card

    I'd like for you to reach out so I can provide credit for the photo, and I'd like to hear what you think about the article. Thank you and your husband for all that he did and what you did to support him.