ArtistDan DiNapoli
Writer: Gayle Gleckler

Your first bond is with your parents, then possibly your wife and children.

Then one day you get a message from the President of the United States: “Greetings. You are hereby ordered to report for induction.”

Or you volunteer because you have a calling to serve.

Unbeknownst to you, you are about to go on an emotional journey with a completely new kind of bond, thicker than blood.

One soldier in basic training said, “I was lazy and dug a minimalist foxhole, a mere scratch in the ground.” 

His grizzly Gunny Sergeant, instead of reprimanding him, said, “Never dig a one-man foxhole. When the bullets start flying, I don’t care how tough you are, you’re going to want somebody next to you; somebody you can trust with your life. So the bigger your hole, the more support it can hold.”

As a soldier you become a member of a team, with treasured relationships that develop in wartime, often referred to as “the bonds between soldiers,” ”comrades-in-arms” and “the band of brothers.” 

You become a “guardian angel” for each other, with a golden rule, “Never let your buddy down and always have his back.” 

Your buddy in combat is the one person with whom you share your deepest thoughts and concerns. Personal differences, ethnic and racial prejudices become invisible.

Close and present danger, plus living together 24/7 for months on end forges the bond of trust even deeper. 

Combat soldiers describe this special bond, hesitantly or openly, as love.