I remember the first time I watched Rambo, First Blood, back in 1982. I was a teenager enamored with the idea of being in the Special Forces and wearing a green beret. There was also the A-Team and Soldiers of Fortune magazine to help fuel my fire for being an elite fighting soldier.
Being a bad ass like John Rambo was a high priority on my list. What red blooded male didn't want to have the skills and physique like Rambo? After all, stories are told about the Special Ops community and legends born because of these men. People admire heroes like Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, Marine Recon, and Air Force Pararescue.
My military destiny would not take me down the path to the elite fighting units. I enlisted as an 11 Bravo Infantryman in the Oklahoma National Guard and later the U.S. Army Reserves.
I dreamed of earning my airborne and air assault badge and going to Ranger school, but I was never given the opportunity. It wasn't meant to be. It did open my eyes about other things.
What about the rest of us?
My experience in the military showed me that there is more to the U.S. Armed Forces than high speed Infantry soldiers. It takes a LOT of skilled team members to make any operation or mission happen.
You can't fight the enemy without logistics, equipment and supplies, food, water, and transportation. You won't get paid without the proper paperwork being filed. Your family won't get the help they need without support.
We can't forget about all the heroes who make it happen.
It's been said that only 1% of our entire military are the elite units or special ops community. The rest of us, the other 99%, are everyday Joe's doing their jobs to make the others look great. Where's the love for the people in the rear with the gear?
Just because you didn't jump out of a perfectly good airplane or get deployed to the front line, doesn't mean you aren't valuable or appreciated. You are!
Happy Joe recognizes that many people - like the cooks and mechanics - never get their props. We know that administrative personnel, JAGs, or Drill Sergeants don't get much love. When's the last time you hugged a Drill Sergeant?
The reality is that ALL of us who enlisted in the military and served, regardless of branch of service or era served, are awesome. It doesn't matter if you were in the National Guard or never got deployed or fought from the backline. We salute you!
Get ready for some love.
I admire and thank the men and women in the special ops or elite fighting units. You've done something I only dreamed about. Yet I will not forget the sacrifices of ALL who served.
To the rest of the 99% who did their jobs in the military, your day for recognition starts today and more is coming!
Happy Joe will be creating military apparel and products just for you. We will celebrate your contributions to the entire U.S. Armed Forces.