Written November 14, 2007
I have been surrounded by the many rituals and metaphors used by Soldiers today. Although the army uses an alternative vocabulary for some words and many acronyms, I still choose to use most of my own vocabulary. For example, the army uses the word “latrine” for what I call the restroom. I will only use the word “latrine” when I am doing some type of military training and I think I might get corrected. Another military ritual and policy is to refer to others by their rank and last name. I usually refer to most of my co-workers and Soldiers in my unit by their first name, unless we are conducting training with a number of leaders in the organization. I still sometimes have to correct myself when I realize I have called them by their first name in front of other leaders and senior officers.
I really do think that the army is its own culture. I have never been active duty other than for mobilization, but from the people I have known on active duty it seems like they are a separate culture from civilians. They use their own medical facilities, dining facilities, gyms, neighborhoods, and even have their own judicial system. I found that most active duty Soldiers don’t have many friends or contacts that are outside of the military. Since most of them joined in their late teens or early twenties, their whole life has been accustomed to the military life and the military culture.