When I enlisted in December of 2012, I had no idea that I would feel the way I do today about myself. I was at another dead end job and could barely support my new family. I never felt like much of a father or a husband. I left on a plane from Atlanta completely oblivious as to what I would encounter when I arrived at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Little did I know that within a matter of hours, my world would be abruptly, not subtly, flipped upside down. I also had no idea that it would be virtually impossible for me to live my life the way I had been.
To my surprise however, Basic Combat Training changed my life in more than just a physical aspect. In fact, I got much more of a mental gain than I did physically. I was mentally stronger, more capable of making confident decisions for myself, and others, on a moment’s notice, but above all else, a great sense of pride for My Country and My Army. But amongst the new found love for Duty and Country, I also felt a sense of respect for myself that I had never felt before. I felt like I had finally become the father I had always hoped to become for my children, and the husband I needed to be for my wife. I knew I was now capable of being the father who’s son was so excited to bring him in on family career day at school. I was able to provide the security and protection for my daughter that every father hopes to ensure. I knew that I now had the strength to make decisions for my family and to value the opinions of my wife and to be able to work with her as a team.
I am honored to be a part of the greatest fighting force on Earth. The history of the United States Army speaks for itself; there is not a stronger military power than our own. The training I’ve been put into up to this point is so miniscule in comparison to the amount of training I have to look forward to in my career. However, if the future classes and training can instill in me half as much as BCT did, there is no question that I will be the best of my abilities and serve the nation with no restraint. Just like our Second (2nd) General Order tells us, “…I will perform all of my duties in a military manner.” To me, that means giving 110% when others are content with only applying 50% at most.
If it weren’t for the Army, I never would have known what it’s like to be able to call myself a “Professional”. The work and difference I’m able to make here is better than I could have ever imagined. I would have never been able to feel this self confidence within myself and the decisions that I make, and my family would not have had the father and husband they so desperately deserve. To me, being a professional soldier is being able to face the day and successfully carry out your mission, no matter what you’re faced with on the way, and coming home to those at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment, knowing you’ve served your country to the highest standard another day.