War Song by John L.  Neel

Returning to the States as a Master Sergeant after postings in England and Turkey, I had finagled my way back to the 82nd Airborne Division.  I was hoping for a First Sergeant job in my old Battalion, the 2-505.

I made an appointment with the Third Brigade Command Sergeant Major at Brigade Headquarters before reporting to the Replacement Detachment.  I didn't recognize him.  He was a Ranger and wore the Ranger Scroll on his combat sleeve.

I didn't mince words - private to platoon sergeant in the 2-505, Charlie Company, Scouts, jump master, PSG in British Parachute Regiment, two tours in NATO Turkey, and a top secret clearance.

As I interviewed with the sergeant major, he seemed interested in my past and all the things that I had done and seemed to be genuinely impressed and pleased that I was looking for a job in his brigade.

At the end of the interview, he looked at me with a slight smile on his face and asked, "Sergeant Neel, do you have a war song in your heart?"

This was by far the corniest thing I had ever heard come out of the mouth of a sergeant major in my life.

I looked him right between the eyes, and said, "Sergeant Major I'm not sure what the hell you're asking.  Maybe that's how they talk in Ranger Battalion, but we don't talk like that in the 82nd Airborne Division (letting him know that HE was the outsider in the room).  To answer what I think you're asking--I am a Warfighter.  I can kill the enemy with everything from a rifle to an A-10.  I'm a trainer and I will train my soldiers to be warfighters.  I'm very good at what I do."

He kicked me out of his office.

I assume that was a good answer because he called Division and had me assigned to the Third Brigade.  He put me in the 2-505 and two months later, I was the First Sergeant of Charlie Company, the first of three companies where I would be top sergeant.

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