I delayed this post mainly because I wanted to wait for my posting. For those who do not yet know, im going to SCS.
POP was a very important moment for me. A joyful occasion which we celebrate our completion of BMT. Some people comment that its funny how in completing a small two month course, we have this big celebration, but you may not even get a parade in SCS and you certainly dont get one for your ORD. Personally, I feel that it is because the completion of BMT is a huge milestone. You're no longer a silly recruit who knows absolutely nothing and deserves no respect. You're a solider, and they give that to you.
More important than the tossing of the jockey caps however, is that POP was the day I took the fifth coy insignia and buried it in a tiny corner in my cupboard. I'd like to say I stripped it off my iLBV but it was already off because of the parade.
Three weeks ago was the day where we completed the 16km route march and at midnight, OC told us about how proud he was about us and we all were awarded this insignia which says that we're now fifth coy warriors and we're to wear this with pride. We were one of the few people who bear such insignias on our iLBVs, and of course a '5th coy' insignia speaks much louder than a 'jaguar coy' insignia ever would, so wear it with pride many of us did.
I too was tempted to do that. I wanted to wear that insignia which shouts out to the world 'look at me, im not just any regular dude, I was from fifth'. And people from other companies will look at me and know at once that I went through fifth coy and came out fighting. There will be that degree of respect that people give to bearers of that insignia. The same goes for the company shirt (which I have since buried at the bottom of my clothes as well), I want to wear that when I go out and have people recognise that im from the fifth.
But you know what? Thats just pride. Pride in me trying to show the world how good I am. That im better than the average person out there. Pride which calls for the applause of man, to gain the respect of other people. Thats pride, in the same way our OC says he is proud of us, in the same way we were told to wear the insignia with pride.
In week 7, I decided that I wasn't going to wear that insignia. Especially not after those occasions the very next day where badges were stripped off people and they were told they dont deserve to be a part. I decided I didn't want to be a part. I decided there was nothing to be proud about it. I could be proud to be a Destiny Impactor because DI is great, but I can't be proud of fifth. There is nothing in it worth being proud for, there is nothing in it I can say that I stand for. The only pride from it comes from having survived it, emerging mentally sound.
It was week 8 that everything slowly came together with me and I finally understood something more. That pride was the root of everything here. And I've since called it the erroneous pride of fifth coy. As individuals, many of the commanders are rather decent people. I can imagine them hanging out with friends, chilling and not planning on how to take over the world. Yet in them, there is this pride. We are the fifth, so we have expectations to meet. We must be tough, only because we are the fifth. And we have a reputation to live up to.
All those safety issues and certain other complications caused issues with their plans for tough training. So with tough training limited, some of them were frustrated. Its not the fifth anymore if we aren't tough. So all sorts of stupid things are devised just to make our lives miserable and to ensure that fifth will always be the fifth. Pride. I had a whole long list of things I wanted to say about why I absolutely hated to be part of this company, typed it all out on my phone, but in the end I guess its not necessary to say anything.
And pride will continue to plague the company unless people can stand up to change it. It is their driving force, it is what makes them go on. Their pride justifies themselves, defends themselves, and pushes everyone though this meaningless nonsense. Everytime my PS calls us 'paper soldiers', there is always that hint of how he remembers his own past in the fifth, and accordingly his expectations for us. Sometimes you could even sense the feelings of injustice as to how we seem to be getting it better. But it was wrong then, we shouldn't let the wrong continue.
The good news is, I know things are changing. Not everyone approves of the way things are now and in time we'll see them stand up to make the difference. For me, if going through the fifth has taught me anything, it is to be a good commander. And that will never be lost from me. I have already begun to develop my ideas on how I would be dealing with my men. And who knows, perhaps one day I'll return here.
If that should come, I will gladly accept it. I didn't throw away the insignia for a reason. Im dreaming that perhaps one day I will indeed wear it with pride, a humble pride. Deep inside me, there's a fire. And while I appear nonchalant about being in SCS, I wouldn't have it any other way in reality. I don't know how the next six months will go, but im determined to fight through it, not for myself, but for the men who will be under me.
Be it six or six hundred, I am here to change lives. To demonstrate to them what my time in DI and primers have taught me about true leadership.