How Time Flies For A Lone Soldier
By Jordan Ray Shaw
So I figured it would be appropriate to write something in honor of my one year anniversary of making aliyah. The time has flown by as it always seems to do in life, but this time its a bit different. When I look back and think about things I have done over the past year it's amazing. From making a home on the kibbutz to grinding out tough days in the army. I have done a lot of things I never thought I would do or could do or even knew existed, in some cases.
I have moved to a new unit in the army and that has delayed my flight home. Its going to make the first eight months seem like they were the easiest thing in the world. I have doubts if I can really do this because its more demanding mentally and physically with added responsibility. But I know this is something I can do and talking to my family, friends from back home on skype or facebook on the weekends helps me recharge my batteries and gives me that little bit more of motivation you need on those tough days.
I feel like I want more people to know what I’m doing so I can help spread the word about Lone Soldiers and the Israeli Army in general. I feel like when I return to the States, it won't just be an opportunity to see family and friends but to share my experience with everyone and anyone who is interested and/or has questions. I honestly think I have things to say with an unique perspective to offer to the Jewish community in the Twin Cities. But I can sometimes be a bit modest so I dont really seek attention when maybe I am deserving.
I just want this part of my life to worth more than just stories I tell my guy friends about the crazy hard things I did, the guns I shot, the vehicles rode in and so on. It will always be a special time for me but if I can turn it in to something greater and maybe use it to help others somehow that would be something truly great.
The year away from the family and friends with whom I grew up, really opened up my eyes. It has caused me to want to reconnect with old friends and strengthen the bonds with my current ones. I still don't know how my story is going to unfold but I do know that I will be the one to write it.
So what does Jordan Ray Shaw have to say about the army? First of all, it is not easy to be a combat soldier and definitely not for everyone. The right to defend this country is not just given to you when you join the army - you have to earn it.
Weeks of barely enough sleep and over 20 mile marches are things that are now, not foreign to me. Never in my life had I thought I would shoot assault rifles, throw grenades or blow up plastic explosives. But in the last few months, I did all those things! It all sounds cool, mostly because it is cool but also scary at the same time.
I still have 3-4 months of advanced training and after that, I will receive my warrior pin. I will be trained to do more things than I ever imagined. I still don't know what I’m going to do after my first year is over; I could possibly complete the commanders course or become a medic. Or even stay with my current battalion. I figure that after 1 year, I will have a full taste of all the options and then, I will be able to make a well informed decision.
One thing I do want to say is how great the feeling is to be in public in my uniform. When you are on the base for weeks at a time, you are in a bubble. And with the proud looks I receive every time we ride home, it is always wonderful to step out of that bubble.
Sometimes at night on guard duty when I’m alone I’ll think, 'how did this kid from South Minneapolis end up here on guard duty on an Israeli military base not so far from the Egyptian border.' I don’t search for an answer. I just laugh because its amazing to think about.
Click here to read about the start of Jordan's experience in joining the IDF.