One of the things that is almost always constantly on my mind is making my boys into good men. Whether it’s deciding what to do or revisiting something I may have done, it is something that I am constantly weighing. Making these boys into men, good men, is my number 1 goal in life. I have been chosen to parent them and have been entrusted with caring for these two amazing, bright, beautiful children. I understand that it is my responsibility to guide them into adulthood as best I can.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying regarding veterans. The one about writing a blank check payable to the United States of America up to and including your life.
When you decide to join the military, especially during wartime, you are basically saying that you are willing to die for your country. It doesn’t matter if you are joining to be a cook or if you are joining to be a sniper. It is just something you understand is a possibility when you make this decision. I previously mentioned that during my years in the Marine Corps there were no major conflicts. The Iraq war did start at the end of my time, but I had spent so much time away from my original trade that I was no longer of use without any additional training in that field. I remember once when a fellow MSG (Marine Security Guard) at my post in Bamako got mad and stormed out of a meeting when he felt that I had received two “unearned” combat leave days after spending a week in Skopje, Macedonia. I had gone there to support the State Department in guarding then Secretary Of State Colin Powell and his wife while they were there for peace talks during the Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia.
I swore into the Marine Corps on my 17th birthday in 1997. Two months and 7 days later (a week after I graduated high school early) I was boarding my 3rd plane ever, heading to Parris Island, to stand on the yellow footprints. I spent approximately 6 years serving in the Marine Corps. I got out in August of 2003. Therefore, I served pretty much right smack in the middle of any wars or conflicts. I also spent pretty much spent my entire time overseas. I always figured that I’d let the government pay me to travel and see the world. The first half of my time (after training and schools) I spent in Okinawa, Japan. The second half I was serving as a Marine Security Guard in Sofia, Bulgaria and then Bamako, Mali.