By Lee McMahon, Public Affairs Specialist, Defense Media Activity
If there’s one thing the Army taught me is that there are lessons to be learned in most situations. Having put together countless After Action Reports, I’ve felt the benefit of looking back and reflecting on experiences. The idea of lessons learned can be applied in everyday situations like every time I get lost in my car. Lesson learned: I need to accept the fact that given a choice of directions I will always choose wrong. Bring a map. There are probably other people out there who can relate to that one. When it comes to lessons learned in the military though, considering that less than 1% of the U.S. population serves, it’s a smaller group to share lessons learned. And those lessons are pretty unique. Just ask anyone who has deployed for the first time with the wrong gear. Or gone out on patrol with a Kevlar that didn’t quite fit (ouch).
When I think of important lessons learned in the military today, I think of wounded, ill and injured soldiers and their families. During my time working for AW2 I was amazed daily by the fortitude of wounded warriors and their families. Their ability to tackle the formidable obstacles put in their way and come out the other side with knowledge and expertise was impressive to say the least. I’ve met parents and spouses that I would have thought went to medical school based on their knowledge of their soldier’s condition. Wounded warriors who found ways to speed up recovery that left experts confounded. These are the lessons no one wants to have to learn. But I stand in awe of those who have.
This month, Defense Media Activity is looking at lessons learned from the recovery and reintegration of wounded warriors and their families and caregivers on the “In Their Own Words” blog. Capturing what folks know now that they wish they knew then; things that enabled personal success; what to avoid that can derail recovery progress. If you have lessons learned to share, please visit the Lessons Learned Blog.
For me, as an enlisted Soldier in the Army, I learned lessons at every rank. And most every lesson I learned came from those more experienced than I.
Through talking with AW2 Soldiers, Veterans and Families, I know the unique expertise you have gathered. Here’s a chance to share some of it with the soldiers who follow.