I was serving in the military on 9/11
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was active duty in the US Air Force, attached to the US Army's 3rd Special Forces Group, as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller. We were in a daily commander's update meeting, going over what happened the day before, and were just about to adjourn when someone came in and told us to turn on the TV. We turned it on just in time to see the South Tower crumble down on itself at 10:00 (am).
On 9/11, I had over 18 years in service, was married for about a year, and had a three-week old son. I was looking forward to two more years of service, retire at 20 years, and get a second career going somewhere away from the military. When I came home that night, late (3rd SFG immediately went into a planning cycle to take account of what was available to respond with and how quickly), my wife met me at the door with my son in her arms, and asked if I saw what happened. I said I did, and she asked if this (will) take a long time to sort out? I said it will, but we would probably respond almost immediately. She then told me, in absolutely no uncertain terms, that I was going to fight, for as long as I could, and as long as the military would let me. The Spartan wife in her basically told me to come home carrying my shield, or on it! So over the next six and-a-half years, I deployed five times with the Army Special Forces, each deployment six months in length. Once I returned home from one deployment, I would turn around and get into a training cycle with the next ODA and deploy again the next year. Over six deployments in my career, I earned six Bronze Stars (three for Valor), a Joint Service Commendation Medal, an Air Force Commendation Medal for Valor, and three Army Commendation Medals (one for Valor).
For the past 13 years after retirement, I've been training the next generation of warfighter for the military. I will continue to do that for the foreseeable future. When I finally hang it up for good, I will write a book about my experiences and the experiences of those select few who will let me tell their story. As a DAV Life Member, I will continue to mentor younger members and those still in the military, aiding them in seeking counseling if needed. I've known too many comrades who have killed themselves. It's bad enough when one of ours dies on the battlefield (I've personally known 31), but it's just as bad when they kill themselves after they get home safely! Additionally I will always remain vigilant for stolen valor.
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