Nettles’ Watershed Point
When attempting to decide which milestone in my life I would consider my watershed point, I explored many highlights and low periods in my life. These ranged from graduating college, to getting married, to the death of my father, or the birth of our first child. I kept thinking that the military has to play a part of my watershed point, and even when I made this determination it was difficult to decide if it was receiving the Expert Field Medical Badge, becoming a NCO, being deployed overseas for the first time, or being selected to attend the Sergeants’ Major Academy. When I weighed the impact on all of the above milestones, I felt that none of these impacted me greater than being promoted to Sergeant First Class during the process of preparing for my first combat deployment. I picked this moment in my life because it coincides with several additional milestones (facing my first serious marriage crisis and now being responsible for 30 Soldiers and a junior Officer). I attempted to separate becoming and Platoon Sergeant from my experiences during my first combat deployment, but found it difficult to separate the feelings they somehow feel detachable from each other.
This milestones was different than all other milestones because it proved to be the first time in my life that I ever felt truly challenged, and in a situation that was completely over my head. All my life I had never truly being put to the test. I will be the first to admit I have never been and overachiever and could easily position myself in a position where I got good but average grades in school. I was never the best in any of the sports that I played but I was good enough to get playing time. I had made a living out of being comfortable in the background and now I was being asked to make decisions that could result in the life or death of all the Soldiers under my charge. At times I found this to be an over-whelming fear that I might allow indecisiveness or one of my weaknesses cause me to make a decision that would result in disaster not just for myself but for those I was responsible for.
Five Stages of Endings
Disengagement is the process of realizing that we must change but not being sure of what may be the outcome of our present situation. This process comes once we are able acknowledge that the things that tie ourselves and our current roles are gradually loosening. Prior to becoming the Platoon Sergeant for the Evacuation Platoon within my Medical Company I had served as a Squad Leader for this very same platoon. On the day I took over from my predecessor I was elevated above my fellow squad leaders and placed in charge of them. There had been a degree of separation between our platoon leadership and the squad leaders. I was completely unsure how I would be received by my junior leaders because they knew me so very well. They understood my strengths but more concerning to me was that they knew my weak areas. I knew I had...