Teacher Oscar Flores shares memories about military experience

Teacher+Oscar+Flores+with+his+infamous+walking+stick.

Dylan White

Teacher Oscar Flores with his infamous walking stick.

Dylan White , Sports Editor

Oscar Flores is not the kind of guy that you would peg for a veteran.

“It influenced a lot of what I’ve become but it doesn’t really define who I’ve become,” Flores said. With a very calm demeanor and a relaxed teaching style, Flores could almost be stereotyped as a dove.

“Everyone says, ‘oh he was in the military he must be hardcore,’ but the things I’ve seen have made me more relaxed,” Flores said.

An interesting example of this is Flores’ experience as a recipient of friendly fire. Returning to a base in an armored Hummer, his squad was unrecognized by the base and received turret fire. He was on the mounted grenade launcher at the time, leaving his entire upper body exposed. After examining to the examining the damage to the shield on the mounted weapon, Flores realized that one of the shots just inches below where his neck would have been, a shot that would have surely killed him. But nonetheless, Flores kept up his calm demeanor just the same.

“My first instinct was to laugh,” Flores said.“I just thought ‘wow, I almost died there.’”

The military has many different feelings attached to it. Many Americans have a reverence for the military, while others view it simply as a dirty function of politics. It is very rare for both politicians and the average citizens to recognize the military on an individual level. It is often forgotten that this big symbol of American imperialism is comprised of much smaller pieces: the actual servicemen and women of the armed forces. Flores is one of the products of this harsh environment, but it is not to him the mostly negative experience that it is often perceived as.

“I had a good time,” Flores said. “We used to just go out back when it was a nice quiet evening, lay and play stupid word games, listen to music, and just talk about whatever. That would be probably the thing I would miss about Iraq, the time with my buddies where we could just hang out, not worry too much about anything, look up and kind of lose ourselves in the moment.”

This experience is one that is definitely hard to find anywhere else.

“You kind of forget where you’re at,” Flores said. “There is more to it than just the non stop dedication and hard work.”

Flores describes the society of the military as a very complex culture that is certainly not for everyone. Despite having a rather unorthodox view, his military experience seems to be something he remembers fondly.

Flores encourages the decision to go into the military, but he emphasizes that it’s a commitment.

“It’s hard to get out once you’re in,” Flores says. “There are guys who get there and in the first week they’re like ‘crap, I don’t want to be here.’”

Despite the huge commitment, Flores remembers his time fondly and as very positive experience.

The military is comprised of more than people often realize it. The military is not just a faceless organization, but a group of people like Oscar Flores. His experience is something that has shaped his perspective as it is today, and it has helped shape him into the laid back guy that he is today.