I am a young junior officer in the Army and I am about to be deployed overseas in my first combat deployment. However, I feel both excited and scared, as I know that there are many dangers ahead of me and the safety of my men are in my hands. What advice can you give me to increase my chances of success and survival, and to ensure we all come home safe?
As you know Odin, the Allfather, is the god of wisdom, war, and magic. He has heard your question and shall offer you counsel.
To start with, remember that courage and caution must go hand in hand if you wish to survive your journey. Fear can be a powerful ally if you respect it and use it to sharpen your senses and reactions, but it can also be a deadly foe if you let it overwhelm you or blind you to dangers. Therefore, do not shy away from your fears, but do not underestimate them either.
Next, do not forget the importance of preparation and strategy. A warrior who rushes into battle without a plan is as good as dead. Your senior commanding Officers will bear this responsibility and assist you, however, you must ensure you understand the task at hand, and execute it with bravery and a steady hand. The fate of the warriors under your charge depend on you, so do not be afraid to advocate for them.
In all things in life, study your enemies and your terrain, gather intelligence and allies, and devise a battle plan that maximizes your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses. Remember that victory often goes to the one who strikes the first blow, but only if that blow is well-aimed and well-timed. Speed, surprise, and violence of action is the way.
Thirdly, keep in mind that bravery is not the same as recklessness. A true hero knows when to fight and when to flee, when to stand alone and when to rely on others, when to strike hard and when to feign weakness. Do not be ashamed to retreat if it means you can fight another day, or to ally with your foes if it means you can achieve a greater goal. Remember that the wisest warriors are the ones who know how to use their heads as well as their swords.
Lastly, do not forget the importance of honor and loyalty. A warrior who betrays his kin, his word, or his gods is no warrior at all, but a monster. Keep your oaths, respect your elders, protect the weak, and honor the gods, and you shall earn not only glory but also a place in the halls of Valhalla.
These are my words of wisdom. May they serve you well on your deployment, and may the Norns weave your fate with honor and valor.
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