I have to agree with that. While I was in, I made great friends & had some great times. Yet I bitched & moaned and wanted out. Once out, I looked back, and realized I was having a great time/experience. I would not trade it for anything.
Thanks for the backup. I'm with you about there being no shortage of times when things were less than desirable in all ways but, I learned things about life and how to (and sometimes how not to) handle difficult and even threatening situations. I found myself in situations such as being Deputy Commander of a 35 bed hospital as an O-2 (Lt JG - 1st Lt) with head nurses being O-4 (Lt Cmdr -Major) level, attending group commanders meetings weekly with the next lowest ranking member besides me being at the O-5 (Cmdr - Lt Col) level and holding my own with that group, and, worst of all, not only not getting the backing of my Command Level Surgeon but, being back stabbed by that office for nothing but personal bias - to hell with the safety of my troops.
At any rate, it was an education in how to handle life that couldn't have been obtained in the best education institutions in the world and, by far, the great majority of my personal contacts were some of the greatest people I have ever known in my life - really inspiring - from lowest to highest ranks. It was truly an honor to have that service experience for which I've been grateful all my life.