One thing they don’t tell you when you get ready to leave the military is you will lose your sense of who you are. Since I was twelve years old, all I wanted to be was in the military. I committed to my high schools Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) while I was still in eighth grade. My freshman year of high school I was bullied, and picked on because I wanted to be a Naval Aviator like Harmon Rab from the hit television show J.A.G. I committed my whole high school life to JROTC, and I even put playing baseball on the back burner for it. When 9/11 hit, I immediately changed my mind, and decided that being in the Army Infantry was the route for me. All I wanted to do, was go to war, and I didn’t care about anything else. I still remember the guy at MEAPS asking me if I was sure I only wanted Infantry, and I strongly told him yes, that I wanted to deploy to the middle east, or go to war is what my civilian mind probably said. I was one of those people who they asked as a Private “why did you join”, and for me it was simple. I want to go over there and kill anyone and everyone who had a hint of 9/11 on their hands. Once I got my first taste of being deployed I was hooked, and once I got my first taste of action on my second deployment it was all I could think of, but what the military doesn’t teach you is how losing friends, and buddies fucks you up. Up until Rex was killed, I did a pretty good job at keeping everyone as a working “friend”, and what I mean is, I made sure we weren’t friends outside of work so when we deployed if I died, or they died, I could go on with my job, but when Rex died it all changed. I finally asked for help when I got to Fort Hood, and my mental health team recommend a six week in-treatment plan for PTSD. They were trying to save my career, and my dream job, but my command had other ideas and told my Doctors NO. For years I listened to the Army preach about how they take care of soldiers, and how they will take care of the guys with multiple deployments once they needed help, and to always ask for help when you felt you could no longer could do it alone. Up until that point, I didn’t ask for help, because I knew that it would get me labeled as a guy who couldn’t handle his shit anymore, and that was the first time I asked for any help outside of normal counseling. It was the first time I was willing to allow any Doctor to tell my Chain of Command that I needed more help than a visit to the psych doc here and there. It didn’t work out, and within eight months I left the Army on an Honorable discharge for being overweight. I couldn’t bare the pain I was dealing with every single day, and when my Chain of Command wouldn’t allow me to get help to ensure my career continued, but they let a Private who never deployed, but failed three drug tests to stay in for treatment before they kicked him out, that told me it was time to do whatever I needed to leave. I felt betrayed, and I felt like the very organization I had given so much to, took the biggest dick they could, and shoved it as far up my ass as possible. I gave them the best years of my life, I went in at 18 and got out at 27, but I wasn’t done, I was willing to give them another 15 to 20 more years. To deploy as many times as they needed, to never get married (again), and to be a career soldier who put the Army first in everything he did. When I left the Army, I thought my life would get better, and the treatment my Doctors tried to get me would finally come, but I returned home to a family who didn’t know me because I isolated them too while I was serving. Just like I kept everyone I worked with at arm’s reach while I was in to protect our feelings if one of us died, I applied the same treatment to my family. You see guys, it wasn’t me trying to be a dick like you all thought I was doing, but it was me trying to protect you if I got killed because I loved you all. Needed to clear that up to my family, and Army buddies. Back to the point…. I thought getting out would help me heal, and that I would come back in the military stronger than ever. What I didn’t know, is these ratings every Veteran told me to get would hamper those dreams, and up until this last year, I never wanted to go back. Why would I want to go back to an organization that has become so political leaders can’t lead, and why would I want to return to an organization that threw me away like a piece of chewed up meat? I can only answer that by saying this, being a soldier is my dream job. Let me say that again, being a soldier is my DREAM JOB! No matter what I do in life I will always want to wear that uniform, and go to war, I can’t explain it, and I wish I could. All I can say, it’s in my blood. For the past three years I have carried the shame of getting out on an overweight discharge. I was scared of what my Rakkasan buddies would think, and I was scared of what everyone else might think, but I promise you guys If I had stayed in at that point I would have killed myself, or worse, I would have killed the leaders who denied me treatment. Honestly, I don’t know what would have happened, but I don’t think the outcome would have been positive. I wish I could go back in time because I would have never left Fort Stewart, and I would have told my Doctor who was a Captain there how I really felt, but I left because everywhere I went I had memories of Rex. I would see him, and call his name out in the Post Exchange (PX), I would see him at the bars we went out drinking at, or when I would go to Savannah because Rex was cool enough to DD so I could get wasted. You see, Rex was that guy who no matter how much of a dick I was he would always hang out with me. He was the one guy who saw through my bullshit, and saw the real me, but that was Rex, he got along with anyone. I’m in college now, and I have the opportunity to get a degree from Harvard, but all I can think about is how can I get back into uniform. How can I give all of this up for one more flight to the Middle East, for one more tour of duty, to suck with the guys during PT, and to be hot as balls at gunnery? The only thing that would hold me back is my amazing dog Thunder, but even I could have him and still serve. I can make a ton more money out here for retirement, and have a lot more freedom, but who am I as the tittle says. I don’t even know anymore. If, you made it this far, you are amazing, and I appreciate you even if you think I’m a dick.