Why did you choose to give the Colonel and Sarnt Mayja “civilian bodies”?
The Col and Sarnt Mayja represent Vets who retired from the military. Of all the different types of Veterans; those who retire with 20+ years of military service have a higher suicide rate than any other demographic of Veteran. So, from the beginning I wanted to show this type of Vet in a manner that describes the crux of the problem as I see it.
The problem is a mix of social retardation and cultural submersion that amplifies the Veteran Identity Conflict. In the Military when you become a leader you can no longer socialize with lower ranks. So the higher rank, the more you isolate and have smaller social support system. This is connected to the fact that many of these Vets become dependent upon Spouse (if they have one) to handle dealing with aspects of daily living while in the Military and even more so after retiring.
This combines with the submersion in military culture for an extended period of time that develops a ‘Manner of Thinking’ which, in the civilian sector, is considered unhealthy or useless. Mind you, for a warrior in the military you don’t just need to behave appropriately, but you must also adapt to certain thought processes and a new belief structure. The higher rank you get, you must not only truly adapt, but teach those under you. This gives Vets their perceptual awareness of threats as well as our understanding of ‘the way things work’. Simply, the longer you stay in the Military, the harder it is to adjust, understand, and create your new role when you transfer to Civilian Sector.
This puts the Vets, that the Col represents, at a disadvantage when facing one of the four primary suicidal conflicts we commonly face as Veterans in the Civilian Sector. The Veteran Identity Conflict is based upon our struggle to create a new identity in the civilian sector. Simply, our role in society as Veterans is not only misunderstood, but is completely missing. Creating ‘identity of self’ was not only done for us, but also our Role in the Military was understood, depended upon, respected, and crucial for survival. We do not have a Healthy Veteran Community in America, one that guides Vets into fulfilling their new role in Civilian Sector as Veterans (Something that is changing). So we return home, lost and alone, making it up as we go, working with what we got. But there is a feeling of worthlessness and disconnection when you are no longer part of something bigger than yourself, left to reinvent yourself with your demons. No role, no mission, no purpose. This is a difficult conflict to face alone and all Vets face it in some manner, but …. Roughly 30% of the Veterans that The Colonel and Sarnt Mayja represent commit suicide within the first five years after retiring to the Civilian sector.
From my perspective, it seems to me that The Colonel and Sarnt Mayja have the same difficulties adjusting to the Civilian Sector that the Civilian has adjusting to Military life when they swear into service.