I’ll be honest. I have a love-hate relationship with Fort Benning. There, I’ve said it.
Before you deem my comment as sacrilegious to all things Infantry- please hear me out. Most of my memories began from the lowest of the low ranks- even worse, that of a recruit. One not yet worthy to be called Soldier. However, my Army life began here and for all intents and purposes this is… home.
For those unaware Fort Benning is the Home of the Maneuver Center of Excellence. Pervious and solely Home of the Infantry, we have moved over in our fighting position to make room for our Armored brethren; Tankers. Now we share this sad sandy lump of clay.
But Fortress Benning is predominantly a training center. Basic happens here and it can be slightly painful. For some, more than others. Add to that transition additional schools that turn Soldiers into Airborne, some Rangers, others still Officers or all of the above. Many a school house of pain reside here… filled with terms that make Soldiers shudder. Names, phrases and people like Darby, Airborne Shuffle, Platoon Trainer that can make you cringe after learning their meaning.
Survive the transition that many cannot and Fort Benning becomes a different place. Rise above yourself, your limits, “embrace the suck” as the Soldiers say, and in a twisted way you begin to love her; Fort Benning. Especially when you hear Reveille in front of Infantry Hall or Taps from Olsen.
Having attended a few schools here I am back again. Memories flood my mind and I am taken back. Always back to Benning. Approaching the main gate I surly winced. But as I passed the National Infantry Museum and pulled up to the security check point- a gentle embrace set in when allowed to pass I was warmly greeted, “Welcome Home.”
Ranger Joes, the National Infantry Museum, the Airborne towers, Infantry Hall and Follow Me are all places once here… I cannot wait to see. If you’ve never been and get a chance, either in or out of a uniform, go check’em out. You won’t regret it.
I’ll bet my life on it.
See you on the high ground,
Apparently there is some good fly fishing in and around the area too. If I get to go I’ll let you know. I really love-hate this place now.