I was serving in the military on 9/11
I will never forget that day. I was serving as a small group leader at the NCO Academy at Fort Stewart, GA. I had just finished a 24-hour duty day at the Academy, and was on my way home. It was a 45-minute drive home, and about halfway through the drive, I had to enter one gate at Fort Stewart and exit another to get to my neighborhood. I arrived at the first gate, and the guard shared with me that the North Tower of the World Trade Center had just been hit. We talked about it for a minute and I began to make my way through the base. As I exited the second gate, I was still thinking about what I had just heard. Soon, I made it home, and as I entered the house, my wife who was home at the time, was watching the news. At that exact moment, we both saw the South Tower get hit. As we both sat there in shock, we realized that our lives were seriously going to change. My son was only a few months old, and I had just reenlisted for an indefinite period, meaning that I was committed for at least 10 more years in the military. Up until then, we had only had 30-45 days away from each other. But after the events of 9/11, we knew that this was about to change. Something inside of me told me that I should prepare to deploy.
Professionally, my military service took on a whole new meaning after 9/11. Previously, I sought out duty assignments close to family or near areas where I wanted to live. After 9/11, I sought out assignments with units that I wanted to go overseas with -- ones that I wanted to serve with. It was no longer about the location of the duty, but rather the needs of the Army. Deployments became a way of life. Often, we would serve in a combat zone for twelve months, return home for eleven months, and then deploy again. It was a constant rotation to Iraq and Afghanistan. Personally, my service became more focused, and my time in uniform became more rigid. I was focused on training for and deploying with my fellow soldiers. My commitment to service, and my fellow soldiers, became a way of life.
I'm excited to bring a level of commitment and desire to see a mission through. There is no such thing as quitting when you're in combat -- this is the approach that I see myself bringing to the communities where The Mission Continues serves. The mission will get done, period.
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