A Mother's Day thank you from a Green Beret

This may be in sharp contrast to what popular culture expects from a career Green Beret, but over and over in my life I’ve found that love and compassion are the basis for just action – this includes all that our Special Forces are tasked to do.

This means, first and foremost, our actions must be predicated on what our mothers taught us, or should have, by loving and protecting us.

For America, this has mostly been the case. America has fought around the world and throughout its history mostly in support of freedom. Americans love freedom and we show great compassion for the human condition.

You’d be hard pressed to prove to me that our motivations have been lesser ones, as I have spent 23 years as a warrior in our Army. I spent years in many countries around the world in pursuit of foreign policy interests. I’ve risked my life many times to pursue these ends. I have an extremely honorable feeling about my service to the United States of America. I am proud of our pursuits for freedom, security and stability around the world, and I’ve seen the positive effects on populations that had not previously experienced such blessings before.

We are better and we even fight better when we are strong enough to love in any environment, just as our mothers, when at their best, show us.

As a Special Forces Medical Sergeant, I’ve rendered care to people in lesser-developed places who had never seen a doctor or a dentist in their lives. I’ve pulled teeth for people who were miserable with dental pain. I’ve handed out prenatal vitamins and made small but real contributions toward reducing infant mortality rates, and even delivered babies in the absence of medical facilities. I’ve provided trauma management for the seriously injured and wounded. Even if we were handing out blankets or digging wells for hygienic water sources, I have always felt like we were doing great things to influence populations with love and compassion.

I attribute so much of this to a maternal nature that compels us to love, support and to protect – to what mothers provide. This is why I dedicated “Conquer Anything – A Green Beret’s Guide to Building Your A-Team" to mothers.

Greg Stube

 (Greg Stube)

The beauty in a mother’s love is that her fight to safeguard her child is a justified one. She won’t have to regret what she did, and she will certainly win the fight with whatever resources are available. A mother will tend to make decisions less in favor of herself and more in favor of us.

In contrast, if anger, vengeance, reputation, identity, competition or any of these lesser and selfish reasons are our chief motivating force, we are likely to regret what we do.

This is why, as a nation, if we pursue our goals out of love and compassion in an unselfish way, we’ll never have to regret what we do. This is why I resolve to attach myself to feminine virtues, rather than resist them.

In contrast, I’ve too often witnessed ugly outcomes as a result of people being too macho. Testosterone is very necessary, but it must be tempered with a mother’s love and compassion. We are better and we even fight better when we are strong enough to love in any environment, just as our mothers, when at their best, show us.

This must be said because popular culture today too often defines soldiers, or even manliness itself, in a simplistic and even boyish ways that only concentrate on stoicism and tough-guy combat skills. As a soldier who spent a year recovering in a hospital, let me tell you, if I’d developed that other side of myself, I would have had an easier time recovering, as my perspective of myself would have been more well-rounded.

As it was, my warrior persona had been blown away and I was left empty. I didn’t know the rest of myself. I didn’t even realize I wasn’t well rounded. If you’re only an alpha man or woman who charges forward without looking left, right or behind, then, sooner or later, you’re going to trip, and no one will give you cover or help you up.

It took a horrifying year in a hospital to make me aware that I have been supported more than I’ve supported others.

As I try to make up for that, I want to say today and always, God bless mothers everywhere.

Sgt. 1st Class Gregory A. Stube (ret.) is from Covington, Tennessee. He joined the Army in 1988 as an infantryman and spent 19 of his 23 years in service as a Green Beret on the Special Forces’ A-Teams. He was seriously wounded during Operation Medusa in Afghanistan in September 2006 and spent a year in a hospital recovering from his wounds. He went on to serve as the first spokesperson for the Green Berets. Today he is a well-known public speaker with a focus on leadership, character development and helping other veterans succeed in civilian life. His awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and multiple Army Commendation Medals.