CONUS Battle Drills: A Guide for Combat Veterans to Corporate Life, Parenthood, and Caging the Beast Inside Kindle Edition
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After deploying to Afghanistan as an infantry officer and Iraq as an intelligence officer, Louis made the difficult decision to leave the Army. Like myself, at times Louis struggled with his transition. He had difficulty integrating back into society and adjusting to a new work environment. He missed the camaraderie and purpose the military gave him. He made mistakes and learned valuable lessons along the way. For the benefit of every transitioning veteran, he recorded his journey in Conus Battle Drills: A Guide for Combat Veterans to Corporate Life, Parenthood, and Caging the Beast Inside.
Throughout the book, Louis effortlessly transitions back and forth from his time in Afghanistan and Iraq to the present day. He uses his military experiences to frame the lessons he learned during his transition. In addition to these illustrations, Louis also provides a workbook and exercises to help you create a personal roadmap for your transition. From personal finances to interview questions, Louis covers all aspects of the transition without sounding preachy.
As I readied myself to medically retire from the military, those who had gone before me warned me of the rocky road that lay ahead. However, I could not fully grasp the difficulty of the transition until I was in the throes of it. Three and half years after medically retiring, I would label my transition a success, however, it could have been much easier if I had Louis’ book. To every veteran getting ready to leave active duty and to those who have already left, I would highly recommend that you read Conus Battle Drills.
This book is a must read for managers and HR reps to understand where veterans are coming from, our motivators, expectations and the things we think about on a daily basis when trying to function with others who don't understand our background.
It is very tailored to men who have served in combat, discussing issues that are specific to them, but even as female Air Defender (the most fobbity of all fobbit jobs), I found it really useful as I consider leaving the service.
Many of the chapters discuss things no one spends time talking about. Louis Fernandez is far, far more honest and blunt than what you find in what is now the Soldier For Life program. His experiences entering the corporate world are highly informative. It made me think about things in a different light. He gives some brief but useful information on writing a resume and going through an interview. The dozens of articles on the subjects don't get the point across nearly as well.
Once he got there, he encountered a lot of things that a really strange if you became a functioning adult in the military, where your boss can tear you apart for being fifteen minutes late because of traffic. For the most part, the civilian world doesn't work that way. He doesn't just tell you those stories, but offers solutions to dealing with them, especially emotionally.
What was particularly interesting to me is that some of the anger the author sees in himself is something I've begun to notice in myself, albeit without the automatic reactions instilled by combat. Just nearly blinding rage and a deep desire to physically do something about it. The Army programs you to behave in a certain way, to react in a decisive and violent manner not viable in the civilian world, and it looks like an issue found across the entire branch. Any Army leader who has been under stress will find his advice for dealing with it post-military will find it useful.
I also want to add that anyone who wants an honest read about the rigors of combat in our recent conflicts should read this book. I give Louis Fernandez a lot of credit for sharing his stories with people he doesn't know. His account of his experiences are thoroughly without political subtext or any kind of agenda. Writers looking to include veterans in their fiction should read the entire thing, because while he found life to have its difficulties after service, and there are things that haunt him, it doesn't make him into a dysfunctional psycho.
"CONUS Battle Drills" is a good look at the trials of getting out of the service, both concrete and emotional, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know what a real combat veteran's mindset looks like.
I received a physical copy of this book from my connection to MilitaryGamers.com.
Absolutely worth the read. I couldn't put it down. Reminded me to check in with battle buddies. Something i (sadly) forget to do regularly..........