What the world sees when they look at the military is not the individual branches or people, but the whole. Through great deads of individuals, the perception of our armed forces gains notoriety for bravery, honor, and selflessness. When one of us skylines themselves in a negative light, it reflects equally poorly on the rest of us. While we may see that an Airman, Soldier, Marine or Sailor, messed up, many in our country see all four branches and every single one of us as the problem.We've all heard it. We've even addressed it here a few weeks ago when regarding the "broken" mentality. Someone knows a veteran or service member that is having a rough time and automatically assumes that to be the case for all who've worn the uniform.The reality is nothing could be further from the truth. Just like in the real world, there are people that are great and good at their jobs, and there are people that are not so great. We as the "tribe" understand this. We know that Lance Corporal Schmuckatelli is just an ass and we disregard him. However, many don't. They see Lance Corporal Schmuckatelli being stupid and getting in trouble and automatically indict everyone in the four branches.[caption id="attachment_17040" align="alignnone" width="750"]
Spc. Ryan Keller observes the impact area as Staff Sgt. Justin Smith calls for fire from the mortar team during the inaugural Gainey Cup, March 4, 2013. The scouts from 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., also had to engage simulated vehicle and troop targets with their assigned weapons. (DOD photo by Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Piper)[/caption]There is the way things should be and the way things are, and while we seek to move towards the way things should be, we are forced to operate in the present with the way things are. The way things are is that we are all seen as one. Each one of us, no matter the branch represents the other four branches.We didn't intend to preach this morning. So forgive us if we come across that way, but remember, many of us signed up to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and when we act, those actions reflect on something much bigger than ourselves as well.
Let's all be better. Let's remember those that didn't come home and ensure that we are honoring them with how we live our lives. Let us rededicate ourselves to setting a positive example for Americans going forward.