To combat Soldiers the true meaning of it all comes home to most, in the midst of battle. It arrives without fanfare, announcements or ceremony. It is that fateful day when the Soldier has a great burden lifted from him. Boarding the helicopter or leaving the gateno longer brings those unsure feelings and fears of what may happen. There is now a calmness the reporter, the staffer or visiting member of congress will neverfathom or be able to achieve. achieve.

The road to this point started by watching others in the worst of times. That commander or sergeant who seemed the epitome of calm in the very eye of the storm of combat. The new Soldier wonders how that could ever be achieved in the midst of such chaotic killing and dying. But then his day comes and it all seems so clear. For the first time he looks at the battlefield not as some great-unknown place of fears and dread. dread.

It is on that day he realizes that his place of business is not Bragg or Riley on a range or in a training area but this place. He may not tell others but he knows. 'This is my office and this is where I do my work that few others can do or even understand.' Enemies should dread because another Infantry Soldier has arrived on the battlefield and this is his place of business and he owns it. That the media and others do not understand what he does is for someone else to explain. His job is killing the enemy with calm deliberate action and explaining it to the uninitiatedis not his function.

He is an Infantryman and in time of war he is allowed to look at all others with total disdain. The jokes in peacetime from all the smart book-taught supporters, no longer are told in his presence. He is the most respected and feared individual in time of war. Look into his eyes for he is a Soldier to be feared and respected by all.

Copyright 1998, by Mark A. Smith, Major, USA, Retired

BACK into the Corner