From time to time, I look back on my life and assess different situations I have gone through. Often times I look at them and try to figure out how I would do it differently if I could go back and do it again. One thing I get out of this excercise is that if I come across similar situations now, I can see myself handling them differently then in the past.
A lot of this thought process goes back to my time in Kosovo. Its no secret that I had a tough year last year and dealing with a complete idiot who seemed to want to make my life a living hell didn't help matters. If I could go back and go through those situations again, I would handle them completely differently. I would know how to handle them. Like when I recieved what was quite possibly the worst counseling session ever (or frankly any counseling session), how I would conduct myself when I lost my KFOR badge, how I would handle that last briefing, or what not.
A year ago today I was given a counseling that basically told me that I was worthless as a soldier and had no business being in preventive medicine. My NCOIC was looking at ways to remove my MOS. Yes, an egocentric E6 felt he had the authority to take away the Military Occupational Speciality of an E5. Which in one word is retarded. From this point on was the descent of my professional relationship with that man. I lost all respect for him and in three months I was completely out of his section with no love between the two of us.
Looking back and playing the scenerio in my mind, I have discovered that how I would respond now vs then would probably result in me getting kicked out of the military for insubordination. But truthfully, at the end of the rotation, I had my former NCOIC completely on the defensive, meaning he didn't dare try anything with me. And I realize now that looking back I came out on top of the situation.
But say that I did happen to find a time travel device and could go back to the start of the deployment and fix things, I realize that I learned so much from this deployment that I wouldn't want to go back and change anything. I have often looked back and realized how much fun I had that year, what I was able to accomplish and the lessons I learned both good and bad and if I could go back in time, I don't think I would change anything. Last year was an important growing experience for me. I had to endure those trials, discover myself, fumble and falter because if I didn't, I wouldn't have learned the lessons I did.
Going back to change one thing would likely change everything that followed, especially in that tumultuous year. Change one thing, and the entire year would had a completely different outcome. For good or bad, the experiences would have been different.
The memories I gained, the people I met, the experiences I had, it was all worth it. If I had to go back to October of 2004 and make up my mind all over again on whether or not I would go to Kosovo, I wouldn't want to change a single thing.
Except maybe telling SSG D to Sod Off a little earlier in the deployment.