Warrior and Diplomat: One of the Peculiar Things about Being a Serviceman

Modern warfare requires troops to have a diverse skill set.

War is brutal and primitive. Yet one of the most unusual things about it today is that while U.S. troops are still expected to be proficient in it, they also are expected to be proficient in some civilized and contemporary tasks. Some of these tasks are mundane and trivial; others are exceptional and important. A May 5 video of U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Andrew Davis speaking with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid provides a glimpse of this peculiar aspect of being a modern serviceman.

Life in any branch of the armed forces can be interesting in ways you wouldn’t necessarily expect. One moment you’re training to improve your ability to shoot and kill enemy forces, and the next moment you’re being told you completed a government form wrong because you used a capital “O” instead of a lowercase “o” to represent a bullet point. The juxtaposition between these two exceedingly different things that you’re expected to know how to do is amusingly bizarre from a certain perspective.

Other things that are a far cry from war but which the modern troop is expected to be skilled at doing are not as inconsequential. Engaging in diplomatic dialogue with the leader of another nation is one of those things.

DVIDS published the video of Capt. Davis speaking with President Kaljulaid “during Exercise Hedgehog, a multi-national field operation in Voru, Estonia.”

You don’t hear a lot of the conversation in the video but you can hear enough to understand that it sounds like the type of exchange (minus the martial topic) you’d expect between a State Department ambassador and a head of state. And yet the ambassador, in this case, is not from the State Department, but rather is a company-grade military officer—a serviceman who could be leading 150 or so men in ground combat in a different situation.

Serving in the armed forces exposes you to a lot of different experiences. Many of them are quite unique or peculiar. And one of the peculiar experiences is that while you are expected to be able to fight if you are ever called to do so, the modern American serviceman is also expected to be proficient in some of the most civilized and present-day (even bureaucratic, at times) tasks as well.

Note: The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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