Skip to main content

On August 8, 2012, I matriculated into the New Mexico Military Institute. Today, by having lasted a full 21 days at NMMI (something that not everybody was able to do, although the vast majority, 512 out of 540, of my RAT Buddies made it this far), I earned the right to communicate with the outside world through means other than mail. The New Mexico Military Institute is a military junior college and high school (I'm a college cadet) in Roswell, New Mexico (the only two reasons why Roswell is a significant city are because of NMMI and because of aliens, the touristy businesses generated by that seem really stupid). For college, along with being regarded as having academics comparable to the first two years of some of the best universities in the United States (for example, the United States Air Force Academy), it has programs to prepare cadets for the five Federal Service Academies (in fact, although the big three have their own prep schools and the Coast Guard Academy uses the Naval Academy's prep school, they all send a few people here every year and the Merchant Marine Academy uses NMMI exclusively), it has a program to commission US Army Reserve and US Army National Guard officers in only two years.

I'm just here to get a criminal justice degree and possibly to get an appointment to the US Naval Academy, but I'm definitely better off here than I would be at a regular civilian junior college or university because I don't really accomplish very much if I don't have structure in my life, and there's definitely more structure here than in such an institution.

I am in the chess club and the rifle club. I don't know how well I will do in the rifle club (I'm fairly of out of practice), but I know that I am a competent chess player (as I previously played in tournaments on a regular basis, I know enough not to say that I'm a good chess player, but I'm better than most people who I play against).

I'm majoring in criminal justice, which means that this semester, my main classes are Russian, military science, English, history, and Intro to Criminal Justice. I've noticed that the history department seems to have political opinions that strongly differ from the English department and the criminal justice professor (although my Russian professor teaches history as well, she doesn't have such strong views as my other professors because she spent a good portion of her life in Russia). For example, when my history teacher told the class that he wouldn't be nearly as good an Air Force intelligence officer as he was (before he was assigned to teach at the US Air Force Academy for the remainder of his military career) if he relied on Fox News for information, one of the ROTC cadets in the class with me decided to say that it was for that reason that he is branching infantry. Until you experience it firsthand, you will not really understand that some people actually take pride in ignorance. On the other side of the fence, my criminal justice professor requires us to read the Drudge Report daily.

There are seven Afghan National Army soldiers selected by NATO to come here for a year, attend the US Federal Service Academies, and then return to Afghanistan to improve their military. I'm getting along pretty well with the two who are in my troop (they seemed to like that somebody knew enough to greet them with "Eid Mubarak" on the day that Ramadan ended and are among the friendliest cadets here).

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Good luck (13+ / 0-)

    on your education and then on your military career.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 08:17:17 PM PDT

  •  Good luck (9+ / 0-)

    and stay in touch.  You're in for an interesting journey.  Let us know how things are going.

    "Differences in political opinion are as unavoidable as, to a certain point, they may perhaps be necessary." George Washington

    by civil wingnut on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 08:25:05 PM PDT

  •  Congratulations hagagaga. Learn as much as you (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, old wobbly, rb608, G2geek, KenBee, mapamp, kurt

    can everywhere you go.  

    And, find ways to think and talk about what you find interesting, as you are doing.

    My father was a Naval aviator,  and learned a tremendous amount about all just of subjects.  That was back in the days when the pilots had to understand the electronics of the plan, navigation, be the doctor of the crew etc.  

    When the computer industry started it turned out this background was useful and he ended up being one of the government's top computer scientists.  It helped that prior to that he had studied to be a priest for six years so had been fluent in Latin, Greek, and a bunch of different languages, too.

    Anyhow, just wanted to say good luck and hang in there. Thanks for sharing your story.


    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 08:25:52 PM PDT

  •  Congrats and good luck. (7+ / 0-)

    It may be difficult, but do try to hold on to your individuality within a system that is designed to remove it.  

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 09:41:14 PM PDT

  •  Congrats! A criminal justice degree could... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, FG, mapamp, SadieSue, rb608

    ... also be the ticket to a track that leads to working for JAG or in a federal, state, or county prosecutor's office.  People who work on the prosecution side of criminal law tend to be fiercely idealistic and, in some big cities, politically progressive.  

    Then there are the drug cartels.  Think of the Zetas and La Familia Michoacana as "Al Qaeda with a profit motive" and you're on the right track.  These organizations are so pervasive and brutal that they are presently considered a natsec threat, and IMHO they will climb quite a bit higher on the threat list over the next decade or two.  

    In addition to illegal drugs, they are also into kidnapping for ransom.  Typical example is to grab some ordinary person off the street (who looks as if they have a job) and hold them for a relatively small sum in the range of $2,500 - $5,000 that the victim's family can scrape together relatively easily (assuming they're employed).  IMHO this is going to become more and more common in the US in the years to come.

    So if you get a chance to take a bite out of those bastards, either militarily or via the criminal justice system, that would be doing us all a world of good.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 10:02:39 PM PDT

    •  Yes, the cartels (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, mapamp, SadieSue, rb608

      If I choose not to go into the military, working against them is probably going to be what I want to do as a career.

      •  Right on! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mapamp, rb608

        Anything you can do to take those heartless bastards down, will be a good thing.  Each one of them you can take off the street is probably worth a dozen lives saved from various combinations of meth addiction, gang killings, and the rest of it.  

        Years from now I'd love to read the stories about it here, but you'll be operating in an environment where there are plenty of secrets that need to be kept, so we'll have to content ourselves with stories in the regular news.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sun Sep 02, 2012 at 12:31:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My ideas based on current knowledge (0+ / 0-)

          Currently, I think that to stop the cartels, a two-sided plan should be enacted.

          On one side, motivation for drug trafficking should be reduced. That can be done by reducing poverty, as most drug traffickers enter the business due to desperation, and also by legalizing and legitimizing the business.

          On the other side, the cartels should be fought with overwhelming force. With the permission of the Mexican government, deploying US servicemembers into Mexico's border states could drastically reduce their capabilities. In fact, US Navy SEALs are already hunting the Mexican drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who has been the world's most wanted criminal since May 2, 2011.

          •  exactly right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I agree 100%:

            Legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana: that's the bread-and-butter of the cartels' business, and taking it out of their hands will destroy their business model.  

            The result will be that the cartels fight each other over what remains of their business: coke, meth, kidnappings, etc., and probably some new "ventures" that will take time to ramp up.

            While the cartels are fighting each other in a downward spiral, apply overwhelming force and crush them.  This would take the form of overt military force in areas where it isn't possible to capture them for trial, and overwhelming police force in places where it is.  

            You probably know this, but for those who don't: the cartels have been successfully building armored vehicles and submarines to carry their cargoes and to make attacks on civilians in areas they control.  Where they are using military-type weapons & tactics, it's justified to use military force against them.  

            Mexico's government hasn't been able to get a grip on this because the cartels basically have them overpowered: not only through conventional corruption, but in large part through death threats against Mexican police and military, carried out in gruesome ways such as beheadings (one more thing they have in common with Al Qaeda).  Therefore we can provide the additional muscle at the front end, to tip the balance and take them down.  

            In the US there are places that are so gang-infested that municipal police are overwhelmed as well.  If I'm not mistaken, Compton, an LA suburb, is one of these (I may have the name wrong).  In these places, a state of emergency accompanied by a multi-agency sweep could cull the proverbial herd well enough to bring things under control so the local authorities can finish the job.  

            From the federal level, the cartels should be declared as foreign terrorist enemies in the same manner as Al Qaeda, to enable the use of the full range of tactics that have been successful against AQ-affiliated groups in the US.  Americans who are allied with the cartels or working for them, would be dealt with in the same way as Americans allied with AQ: relentless FBI surveillance and infiltration, to break them up and put them away.  The FBI has had tremendous success going after AQ sympathizers who intended to plant car bombs and suchlike in American cities; the same tactics should work against cartel members and related gangsters.

            The ideal case would be to launch the entire program so quickly that the cartels don't even have time to react.  Realistically it's going to take time.  The key to success is to make it as swift and sure as possible.  

            As for Guzman, what worked to get Bin Laden can work to get him, and what worked to get Bin Laden's immediate subordinates can work to get his.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Sun Sep 02, 2012 at 07:29:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulations! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, mapamp, MKSinSA

    It sounds like you have a bright future ahead. All the best to you!

  •  I am an NMMI grad (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mapamp, rb608, kurt, MKSinSA

    Many years ago, well before women were admitted, but kosmail me if you need some alum support.

    I had many...interesting...times there.  But times were much different then.  Try not to have to walk off too many demerits in the Hagerman quadrangle.

    •  Questions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mapamp, MKSinSA

      When you were there, was the selection for cadet officers as biased as it is now (for example, I've heard that H Troop's TC wouldn't have gotten his position if he wasn't both a legacy cadet and the commandant's son)?

      It's understandable that the higher-ups tend to have been here for both high school and college (in fact, aside from platoon leaders and troop XO's, the only cadets above platoon level who I know of who are college only are the regimental master of fitness and the CSM). However, some of what I've heard about the selection process seems like it favors legacy cadets and friends of the previous years higher-ups.

      I still have three more weeks until I'm allowed to march tours (aside from failure to return library books and things that teachers stick me for). Most of the tours being marched this early in the year are for the previous year's honor offenses (why they're still here to march tours escapes me).

  •  This is just one man's opinion... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but please reconsider a career in the military.  There are other jobs/schooling paths that will satisfy your need for discipline and structure that don't require you to sell your soul and body to a global imperial killing machine.

  •  Удачи и всего хорошего! nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hagagaga, Dreidlgirl

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 10:50:13 PM PDT

  •  Best wishes for success, hagagaga (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, MKSinSA

    My father and two of his brothers were lifers (dad in the Navy, the two brothers in the Army) - but through enlistment.  

    Good luck and work hard!

    James Madison: "The power of all corporations ought to be limited ... The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses."

    by bjedward on Sun Sep 02, 2012 at 05:57:19 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site