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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Kuwait Chronicle IX
A Tribute to Battle Buddies
I really didn't understand the significance of the "Battle Buddy" concept prior to my 2008 tour in Iraq. That was when it hit me that everyone needs someone to look out for their well-being, at least in a general way...you know, make sure that they aren't getting overly depressed, can cope with the situations that inevitably arise, can eat, sleep and perform the military duties expected on a daily basis...a "best friend" on an interim basis at a minimum. Some battle buddies remain friends for life, and others move on once the deployment/situation is over...doesn't matter...what matters is to have someone there in that moment of need.
The history of the battle buddy concept is sketchy, but it is probably as old as the concept of war and warriors. Shield-bearers of ancient Greek warriors and those squires that accompanied the knights probably qualified as Battle Buddies. Sherlock Holmes had Watson, and Charlie Brown had Snoopie (in my opinion, Snoopie was just a little too self-absorbed to really be a great Battle Buddy). With this in mind, the idea behind the Battle Buddy is to form a bond with a person whom you trust. Likability is a plus for the relationship, but really, confidence that this person will come to your aid in a variety of situations is the most compelling factor when choosing someone. The commitment is a serious one, and it requires a high degree of trust. Usually, but not always, the choice of a Battle is same gender if only for logistical reasons.
I have been fortunate in all my mobilizations/deployments to find a special person to call my Battle Buddy, and I hope to keep them as friends for life. The collective memories of a military tour, especially one involving separation from family and familiar surroundings, are an important emotional link. I might not actually have a conversation with or actually see that BB in person again once a deployment ends...but the bond will always be there.