Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal talks about life after his military career in a story he wrote for the social networking website LinkedIn this week.
McChrystal last led the 46-nation International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. After a 2010 Rolling Stone article
cited him and his aides mocking Vice President Joe Biden and other U.S. leaders, he was recalled to Washington and resigned his post. A short time later, he retired from the Army
Aides to the general
said the comments they made to Rolling Stone were intended to be off the record.
Coming to grips with no longer being a member of the armed forces was difficult, McChrystal wrote in the story, titled, "Career Curveballs: No Longer A Soldier."
"My very identity as a soldier came to an abrupt end," he wrote. "I'd been soldiering as long as I'd been shaving. Suddenly I'd been told I could no longer soldier, and it felt as though no one really cared if I ever shaved again.
"I'd caught a curveball directly on the chin; I wanted to find a corner of the dugout, away from TV cameras, to rub my head and maybe sniffle a bit."
McChrystal, however, bounced back and came to grips with his new life as a civilian. He began teaching a class at Yale University, joined the boards of directors of two companies became chairman of the board at another, and started his own company: the McChrystal Group, a consulting firm in Alexandria, Va.
He also wrote a memoir, which was released in early 2013.
"I was raised a soldier. I was familiar with weapons, tactics, and war," he wrote on LinkedIn. "But years on the battlefield had taught me that soldiering is really about people. Weapons don't dig muddy foxholes — people do. War plans don't evacuate wounded comrades — people do.
"The Pentagon doesn't create the brotherhood of the Army — people do. What I'd learned, above all other lessons, was the importance of those you surround yourself with. That lesson would be with me forever, uniform or no uniform.
"So in the end, the answer was simple," he continued. "My business, and my life, has been people. Like leaders in many walks of life, my business has been to serve with, and for, others. By focusing on this simple truth, and allowing it to guide my decisions through a difficult time, this curveball ultimately opened as many doors as it closed," he wrote.
"From starting a company to teaching at Yale, the past few years have been full of incredible experiences shared, most importantly, with true and lifelong friends."
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