Life after a tour

Bit deep for a first post but I was wondering how people are feeling post op tours? I've been back from TELIC two years and although settled back into home life and job with no real problems save for the odd bad dream and some emotional chats with mates I was out there with. However the latest news from TELIC and HERRIC coupled with the fact that some of the guys I did my TELIC with are going back has put me in a rather funny frame of mind. I'm not talking PTSD here, rather a sense that I'm letting the guys down ( because I can't go, work, family etc ) and my feelings about what happened on my tour are changing. I'm not talking PTSD here just more of a gradual shift in frame of mind, attitude to TA and the knowledge that TELIC has become a sunny version of BANNER with a permanent invite extended to all members of TA. I feel such divided loyalties between the fun and camaradie of my unit and the fact that they will be looking for volunteers for TELIC and HERRICK soon. Does anyone else feel the same?
I can totally understand how you feel about Herrick, I was on Telic a few years back and now some of the guys who where out there with me are Herrick bound but I'm unable to, for a host of reasons. (the main one being my employer)
I dont feel like I belong anymore, I know that might sound stupid to some but for 8 or 9 years the TA played a huge role in my life, it was not at all like the regular army and the people you met and soldier with in your unit tended to be there all the time and now it seems I am marking time and watching as people file past out onto tours and I am watching them do so with the feelings of a cheat.
In fact I have so lost my way that last year I didn't even qualify for my bounty, I didn't have the heart to go into the TAC and listen to people lord it up about what they had done on Telic,Herrick,Banner or what ever tour they had just come from. I still find it hard to listen to the camp dwellers who spout about this and that and how shiney their medal is and what I'd really like to do is take it from them and ram it up their arsses.
I do get down, but more so from the knowledge that I'll maybe not be there next tour with my guys and some of the new guys to help see it through with them, like I said earlier I do sometimes feel like a cheat.
Dunno if it's similiar or completely different but thats what I'm feeling.
Hello FAB Baby

That's exactly how I feel, you put it much better than me - I feel like a cheat. It's almost like now the fact that you have done an OP Tour gives you credability in the unit, however that credibility has a shelf life and like you for work reasons I cannot go on another tour.
I didn't qualify for my bounty last year either, partly because I was busy through work and partly because the unit is almost empty due to tours, reduced attendance (guilty as charged) or because the unit has become a sausage machine taking in recruits and building them up to basic and then a never get the chance to get to know them before there away.
I know this has been talked about on other threads but I think our problem may be that we are old school and when we joined up tours were something that a few bold lads did every year. The unit gave them a big send off and gave them a big welcome back complete with Balkan Gong. Now - like you say it's hard to belong beacuse everyone seems to be touring, POTL or about to go away again! The unit jokes and stories are all fragmented and based around what TELIC you were on etc, now my lot are going away again and I feel I have to explain myself, tell them I would go if I could and I find myself feeling like you say - a cheat.
Thanks for replying FAB - hope that wasn't too much of a whinge! What do you plan to do regarding TA in the future? I love the TA but am beginning to look at my kit and thinking about handing it back.
If I may put an unexperienced POV across; I've not yet been on a tour but believe I will in the near future. I envy, admire and respect any TA soldier who's been on tour and has been succesful (i.e. not a comlpete biff!!) and I can say that it's something some of us aspire to.

I can't comprehend why you would feel as though you were cheating anyone because you can't go; you've done a tour, sound like you probably will again eventually - but then, I'm not in your position.

I suppose, in a nut shell what I'm trying to say is, at least you were prepared to utilise your training, expand on your experience and undertake a job for which you are trainnig/trained to do. Unlike a hell of a lot of people I know.

Chin up fellas, they'll be another tour, the world's far from a perfect place at the moment!!
I have to say that from the crow's point of view, what you both say makes sense.

I'm not long fully trained, and I get the sense about the TA that it's a machine at present. A lot of the guys talk about the craic they used to have, but that seems long gone; it's been replaced by core of people who 'tour' once out of CIC/Trade training and then leave. The units have no character, and all the talk is about Telic, or potential postings on Herrick. There are plenty of guys who are in the TA to get a bit of experience before going regular, but I could count on one hand the amount of guys I went through the recruit cycle (approx. 30) with who plan to stick around and progress their careers, rather than do the tour then FO.

There are also the walts who did their time and can't function without bring Iraq into every sentence, regardless of how irrelevent; 'You know, I never liked curry until I got to Basra...'. I mean, honestly, get over it. I have admiration for anyone who's been called up and served, but as a sum of life achievements?

Sorry, I'm going off-track here. I've been fortunate enough to get out training with the older guys (read; those who have been in for longer than 4 years) for a competition, and I get the sense from the craic we have that that's the real TA; working hard, getting results, then getting pissed afterwards :D However, I fear that this used to be a regular occurance in past, rather than the odd-one off at present. A sad state of affairs.

I joined up to do something different at the weekends and keep fit, objectives I've gladly acheived. By joining up I also volunteered to serve, and if called up I'll go to Iraq/'Stan without fuss. However, this is not my sole reason for joining the TA. Maybe others should reconsider their reasons too?
Interesting posts for a variety of reasons, however, as someone from a unit who has a number of individuals currently augmenting 3 PARA in Afghanistan, the TA is not your career and whilst i'd like to be able to drop out of work for 3 or 6 months to do more tours (i've done 3), there comes a point at which that is not entirely feasible or realistic especially as yo get older and have more commitments to be repsonsible for - i think most of the blokes who have gone are students, tradesmen, unemployed or in a career where they're not necessarily interested in progression or they'll return to exactly the same job in 6 months time. You're not alone in that the blokes who aren't there now would like to be involved but that's a difference between the Regs and the TA - for the former, the whole Bn goes on a tour whereas for the latter, individuals in groups go as their availability allows. The upshot of that is that the TA unit gets blokes with a wide variety of operational experience in different theatres that will permeate through into what they do when they're back. Of course we'll have different war stories, 'when i was in NI, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc, etc....', but if you're made to feel you've missed out or those who went have a dig at you for not going, they should understand your personal circumstances and reasons for that decision. If you truly feel that badly that you're missing out, as a previous poster stated, there will be other tours and you'll have different experiences to recall and pass on to your mates.

I think what I mean when I say "cheating" is the whole idea that if you are not touring/cannot tour because of work/family commitments you can feel isolated from the spirit of the unit. This is not anything that the unit is doing it's just how I feel. The lads that I went on TELIC with two years back are going away again and I feel like I'm letting them down. Part of the problem is that TA units don't tour as "formed" units - it would be so much easier if everyone went as a oner! I just never thought about how I would feel when the lads from my TELIC went away again without me - now I do know and it's a bu**er!!!

Anyway, good luck with your tour matey, take it easy - it will be a fantastic experience and you will make the bestest mates and learn loads about life - stay safe.

Firstly, as a new green siggie - congratulations to all of you. I have yet to go on tour, and I hope to go otherwise what was the point of me working so hard to get where I am.

Not everyone can get on tour. That is a fact of life. That is why we are TA and have the current mobilisation culture. So you can't go on tour. That is understandable. However, as mentioned above, there are new recruits coming in all the time. Some come in, train, tour and FO. Why? Well, if some of the old hands were around, to show them the other side of the TA, ie the camraderie, traditions, drinking habits, then maybe more would stay.

Surely the challenge is :-

You have toured. You have been there and done it.
You remember how the TA used to be.
Now get back to your sodding units and explain that to us new guys.
Because otherwise we will lose that forever and no-one will stay in longer than 6 years & 1 or 2 tours.

Your value is not only measured in whether you have been on tour. It is what else you can bring to your unit. If that is staying at home and stopping us young eejits going out half cocked and without really knowing what we are doing apart from the 2 weeks at Lichfield - then maybe you should be doing that.

I know we would appreciate it.

Still, just a thought
No doubt about it an op tour is a life changing experience for some. Yes I am glad I did it and 'enjoyed' the experience in a weird sense - not the views of my family who had a Christmas without me.

Returning to work after POTL is surreal in so much as it doesn't give me the same drive and enthusiasm as it did before. Maybe just need time to settle into the routine.

I'm not instantly volunteering for another deployment, to safeguard my family, but not ruling out Op Herrick if and when the time is right. This may sound selfish to those who wear green full time but I've done what I was asked to do, have a demanding full time job and a family which have to be factored in to any decision making.
I'll go again if i have too ,but,very hard on family and causes are pretty pointless imho.Definatly an experince worth doing though it has screwed my
career up (though it wasent going anywhere anyway :oops: )

That's a very sound point you have made about passing on the spirit of the "old and bold TA" - and I am aware that I began this thread from a very selfish point of view (i.e my feelings) Now I will go completely off thread!

Aside from the social spirit of pre 9/11 TA I'm not sure how relevant the old style of conducting TA training is now, Cold War tactics on some Wiltshire training area are the stuff of dangerous nostalgia. You make an excellent point about the advice and skills/ drills that those who have done a tour can pass on. Bearing in mind that a large number of those TA mobilised will be involved in force protection I believe that units should start running Rover Group Cardres and train for that force protection style of soldiering. Those that have toured have a great deal to give in that respect, driving tips, what to look out for, contact drills etc. I think this training would put some of the fun back into weekends/get bonding going and would also help those who are mobilsed settle into a tour more quickly.

Problem is the seniors in many units are still wanting to put up bashers round the Pirbright Christmas tree plantation and imagine Russian waves heading towards the harbour area. Old style TA stuff that will not help you in The Sandpit.
Zingari said:
I'm not instantly volunteering for another deployment, to safeguard my family, but not ruling out Op Herrick if and when the time is right. This may sound selfish to those who wear green full time but I've done what I was asked to do, have a demanding full time job and a family which have to be factored in to any decision making.
Not selfish at all. Respect for having done a tour. You are now in the enviable position that you can spend time with your family whereas full time would be looking at another tour or exercise within the very near future and can't avoid the that commitment to the army. Also you've expreese interest in another tour later. So no, you aint selfish mate - sounds like you have everything well organised. :wink:
Problem is the seniors in many units are still wanting to put up bashers round the Pirbright Christmas tree plantation and imagine Russian waves heading towards the harbour area. Old style TA stuff that will not help you in The Sandpit.
Yeah but some of us 'crusties' are listening, interesting thread.


And some crusties may think that teaching the basics of your trade in a conventional war fighting scenario does 3 things:

1. Removes some of the "only here to prepare for Telic/Herrick" mindset.

2. Provides a good grounding in skills/admin in the field etc.

3. Is achievable given numbers and lack of kit required to produce the training you are suggestion.

Do you honestly believe that the regular army do not conduct conventional training in the short period of time between tours?

Like it or not, you guys are now some of the older generation - don't wait for others to provide for you - get off your arrses and get involved in providing what you are suggesting.
Dont worry its what SDR was all for 7 yrs ago now, you will all get chance to TOUR sooner or later. If people want to TOUR 2 3 4 times then so be it, but it should be turfed out equally as well and the time might be soon.....
I think the reason why most vets (sorry but it's the right word) feel a little alianated is because there are alot of seniors who will not and have not done a tour and they treat them differently. My promotion was held up by a year by my CSM when I returned only to see nigs who I had trained get a tape up despite no quals. To them you have done something they could never understand and I think they feel uneasy around you.

There were only a few vets in my unit when I was in (NI, Boz, Koz) so it was harder to talk about things - no one likes a boaster - even though you just want to express yourself and pass on hard earned knowledge.

These days it is dffierenet when most of the lads have done a tour - sometimes two or three. I know of TA lads who have more gongs and operational experience than some of the PSI's. I don't feel that there is a shelf life to a tour - just memories fading.
Re previous tours - learn from it, pass on what you've learnt, don't big it up over others, remember it for what it was and then move on to whatever comes up next. Too much navel-gazing is a bad thing to get into.

No of course the army practise basic fieldcraft skills/maintain fitness/NBC etc as indeed the TA should and do so very successfully. However the regular army have adapt their training based on Operational requirements. Pre 9/11 I suppose you could say that the TA was fundamentally based on meeting the requirements of the conventional battlefield. Now (once units have covered the basics of weopon handling/fieldcraft) the TA also need to relect the style of training that will be required of its members in an operational environment. In the vast majority of cases this will involve force protection.

In terms of equipment , a Rover group training environment can be created with two wolfs, eight pax utilising the roads on a training/FIBUA area. Rover Group, practices moving from A -B, others from unit form insurgent groups along the route, contact drills can then be practised - eg 1st vehicle is down - how would you extract and various permutations. It would not require much in the way of assets to do this.

When such training has been mentioned to those seniors that can sign off such activity the response is always positive but somehow never gets factored into training.
I did 2 tours ,op granby 91,then op telic 04,when i left, i did feel i was running out on my mates,came home to find, adjusting a bit of a bugger.tried to go back out on telic 5,got f£$%ed off.I found that going back to my unit,all the tossers had got themselves ,wee niche's,and had climbed their way up the promo ladder.I felt like a spare one.most drill nights,we-ends.instead of asking the people who had been out there,to share their experience,they pigeon holed so bad that i decided to up sticks and leave ,being fucked over for promotion to senior,was the last straw.


It will aways happen that Some Camp Rats will aways pass Grunts in the Promo ladder...and the Punters that will come back from tours will highlight the War-Dodgers........Pity about the lack of No 2's....
It is amazing the amount of times wqe hear about the Training being sh~t and no one turning up on weekends,but to be honest its not all the training thats at fault as has been highlighted before we still do general war fighting training when to honest our new role is force when is the last time we did force protection training on weekends/Camps? :?

We need to move forward with our outlook and be honest about what the TA has become! :)

The old days are gone,the days when drill halls were filled with Jocks/Toms on weekends/Camps...the main thing now is what happens between tours and the aftermath of these Op's on the boys..we still have a lot to at the moment we seem to take great delight in f~cking about the Operational soliders of our units with red tape,wages problems and allow them bait for for the "Old Team" who fill our messes.
There was always a hard core of good blokes who turned out most weekends for a good shift in the ground then back on the sundays knackered then try and make work next morning, you try that now and no bugger turns up even if it was the mother of all exercises!

Me,well Miss those days, but still want to do tours as well!

Is a great pity.....We cant get our admin to the same level as the Jocks/Toms.

Ninja :wink:
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