Tuesday, March 09, 2010

25 Years Ago...

March 9th, 1985 at the Urbana, Illinois National Guard Armory, I signed on the line. My enlistment contract in the Illinois Army National Guard. 11B10 - Infantryman, assigned as a Scout Observer to the Combat Support Company, 2/130th Infantry. When I called home and told my parents, they were rather startled.

To tell the truth, when I got to Fort Benning, GA for Basic Training, I was too. See for yourself...
A couple of years slowly getting my bearings and an officer's commission, I figured it out. Learn from NCOs.

Some schoolhouse training helped too...Good thing I had learned a little by 1993. I was called up for the Mississippi Floods that summer - and had to take acting command of a Company.

The rest of the 1990s went along merrily enough - oh, until all that Bosnia stuff got going. I had moved to the Army Reserves by then, and ended up leaping at the chance to help. I thought this would be my one adventure (since I had missed the Gulf War) before settling down for good... Of course, it wasn't all fun and games there... Back home and wait for 20 years and out, mmmm? Well, maybe a little bit of interesting work like helping train foreign militaries at multinational exercises in Ukraine...
But nothing much of note after that, right? Wrong.


I got to go to Afghanistan and lend a hand. Made some new life long friendships, cemented others. Got to get out and soldier. And then I got to come Home...

And then I was done...finally home from war, and at 20 years service. Time to hang it up and call it a career? Nope. Had a little hurricane, name of Katrina, get in the way.

So once that was over, all clear now? Uh, not so fast.

So, one more time I went. Got to help some good people get control of things in Iraq.


Of course, I have always had the privilege of working with the steadfast

The brave

And the brilliant

So the quarter century has been something alright. I joined to help stop the USSR from enslaving free peoples. I stayed in after the Soviets collapsed - and ended up helping Americans in floods and hurricanes, Bosnians post-war, Afghans and Iraqis in war.
The time spent away from home, family and friends has been hard. While I have discovered I am no coward, I really don't care for being shot at either... The wrenching ache of comrades killed or injured, saying goodbye to those you served with from other nations - all these have been difficult too.
But for what I have helped accomplish, what I have learned, how much I have grown from my service weighs heavier in the balance. Given the choice again, I would sign that enlistment all over again.

9 Comments:

Anonymous sugarlips said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us! You have done much for your country and should feel proud. Congrats on the 25 years service!

12:47 AM  
Blogger kg said...

Thank you for your service to us and the world!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Inner Prop said...

Been a real pleasure sir.

Enrich and enriched for sure.

Don't like getting shot at, imagine that.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous MissBirdlegs in AL said...

Congrats, Sir! ...and many, many thanks from me and mine. Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors. I'd bet you could handle most anything.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Mikentexas said...

God Bless you for serving!

12:45 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

God Bless you and those around you, who go outside the wire so the rest of us can sleep securely in our beds at night.

3:12 PM  
Blogger wotan said...

Man I am not even a yank. but that was inspiring in a low key way and I congratulate you for putting it that way and appreciate it.
Thanks to you and your family for the commitment you and they gave to your country.

Well Done

An Aussie

6:33 PM  
Blogger Flatlander said...

Bravo!

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You look familiar.
D-1-1 in Benning?
I`ll check back when i get a chance.

3:35 AM  

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