Monday, August 27, 2012

My kababayan joins the Army, hears my advices

NEWLY COMMISSIONED Army officer, 2nd Lieutenant Jay-R Sabud (2nd from right), intends to serve in the infantry. His father, Nestor Sr., is very proud of his son's initial accomplishment of surviving the rigorous pre-entry training. (Photo by Cpl Marlon San Esteban)

I was watching my fave cable news channel at home just before noon on Saturday, August 25, 2012 when my phone rang.

My kababayan, Mr. Nestor Sabud Sr. was the man behind the familiar voice . He sounded very happy as if he won the lotto jackpot prize worth millions of pesos.

"Sir, my son, Jay-R, will be commissioned as an Army 2LT today. I would like to invite you to come during the party that will be held in his honor at 6:00 pm tonight," he said ecstatically.

"Because you are my idol, you must come to attend this simple celebration so that you can share some insights about the military service," he added.

I can sense that Nestor was very proud having a son in the military. But, knowing his family background, I began asking questions.

They come from the upper middle class family who owns business establishments in our town.

He sent his children to reputable schools and his little Jay-R finished nursing in college. He just frowned in the past when told by my father about sending one of his sons to PMA.

I have not heard of anyone from his closest relatives who got interested in military service.

Intrigued by the mere fact that he allowed his son to join the military, I became more decided to attend the celebration.

God's will

When we finally met at around 6:00 pm that same day, I had the chance to ask all the questions that lingered in my mind.

While leading the prayer before our simple salu-salo attended by close relatives and a couple of other kababayans from our hometown in Dangcagan, Bukidnon, I was able to piece together the story behind Jay-R's adventures in the military.

He was already happy when his son finished nursing in college.

One day in 2011, he got the 'shock' of his life when Jay-R asked for his permission to join the Army through the Officer Candidate School.

He was stunned and dumbfounded by the expressed intention of his beloved son. He didn't know what to say during that moment but asked for more time to think a 'million times'.

He mentioned that he had always sought God's 'Divine Intervention' the day he allowed his son to join the military service.
He compared it to the act of Abraham of  readily offering his only son, Isaac, to God.

He said that though apprehensive, he never discouraged his son in serving the Army.

"To arrive at my final decision, I asked for God's guidance. We went to church together as a family to pray and ask His blessings and enlightenment," he narrated.

"It was later in the evening that I finally gave my nod to him. Since then, I had been praying every day that he will make it, knowing that the pre-entry training is very rigorous".

"When I received his call that he is one of those who luckily survived the 1-year long military training, it was a huge relief for me", said Nestor whose other son, a licensed Chemical Engineer, is also invited to join the Philippine National Police.

Brotherly advices

Knowing that I had my own share of valuable experiences in my 18-year long career in the Army, he asked me to share my insights and most importantly, my advices for his son.

When I started telling the real life of a soldier, everyone in the family got interested.

Aside from Jay-R, Nestor's wife and  children as well as  a few relatives gathered around me to pick some of my 'punch lines'.

I started by saying that I never regretted my decision of joining the Army because it is a very rewarding experience.

"The Army has taught me to become a better person and I always see to it that I give back to the organization by rendering my services honorably at all times," I shared.

Our conversation gradually became a 'Q&A'. As I answered all the questions, I always inserted my pieces of advices for the new Lieutenant.

Let me summarize some of them:

  1. Always strive for excellence in everything you do. Consider every work given to you as an 'obra maestra' with your name on it. Be ashamed of your mediocre performance especially if you never exerted your best effort. You can only set the example to your soldiers if you always strive to be the best in everything.
  2.  "Obey first before you complain: to all LEGAL orders only!" When the order is illegal, feel free to tell your superior, and that he must take responsibility for his own actions.  
  3. Don't marry within 3 years of your service. Avoid the 'First Assignment Syndrome', which is marrying a girl whom you meet in your first duty assignment somewhere in the boondocks. Focus on your job as a Platoon Leader first before finding the best partner in life who can support you in your challenging jobs in the Army.
  4. Save for the future. Slash at least 50% of your salary for your capital contribution in AFPSLAI that earns at least 16% annually. Don't indulge in vices like gambling, womanizing and excessive drinking of alcohol.
  5. Remember the basic tenets taught in school like Integrity and Honesty. Fight corruption. Don't steal unit funds. Be conscious of the fact that you are carrying the name of your father whose reputation is unblemished in our community. Always remember two things: 'Walk the Talk' and 'Practice what you Preach'.
  6. Acquire more skills. Buy some books, watch educational TV shows and learn from other well-experienced people. Be hungry for knowledge. Don't waste your time playing PSP or watching Koreanovelas, instead, relearn the tools of our trade like the Troop Leading Procedures (TLP) and TTPs in combat operations. Learn how to talk in public because the local officials in the remotest barangays will invite you as their Guest Speaker during important events. Practice your public speaking skills in front of your soldiers by sharing ideas and knowledge.
  7. Be the teacher to your soldiers. Learn how to impart your gained skills. Effective leaders are excellent teachers. 
  8. Always pray. Don't fear death because only God knows when it is the time for us to die. Even those who avoided combat assignments die in their airconditioned offices. Lead your soldiers in praying especially before dangerous combat missions.
  9. We are warriors and  public servants. As soldiers, we are the protectors of the people, not their tormentors. We must use our power to help others and not to commit abuses against our own people.
  10. Balance family life and military career. You can't claim to be a successful military man when you have a broken home. I don't want to see you become a General whose son is a criminal or a drug addict. 

1 comment:

  1. Very well said Sir.
    Thanks for sharing a piece of your life' story.

    Best Regards,
    Drey Roque (