Duty is defined as something that you must do because it is morally right. When I joined the military, I knew that it was morally right for me to defend the nation that I love so much. I truly believe in our Republic and I am willing to die for freedom, democracy, law, order, and justice. I decided at a very young age, that I would dedicate my life to public service.
I remember vividly, that when I was about eight years old, I told my mom that when I grew up, I didn’t want to marry or have children so that I could dedicate my life to being a police officer, or military member. I said that if something happened to me, I wouldn’t leave anyone behind. That was the level of dedication I had as a child, and that dedication and drive continued to grow like a wildfire. That fire served me well in the military.
The vast majority of my military career will always remain hidden, either by my choice, or by obligation with contracts and clearances. I decided to share a small bit of what it’s like being in the military to hopefully enlighten a younger generation. The caliber of the men and women in our military cannot be explained easily, but I will attempt to do so.
I joined the United States Navy when I was 18 years old. I was a high school graduate with below average grades. I was a skateboarder, punk rock loving, long haired, American boy. I say boy because, at that point, I hadn’t become a man yet. I had a lot of growing to do. When I signed the papers and set my date to leave for boot camp, I only knew a few things. I knew that I wanted to serve my country, and I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy.
I chose the Navy because of my best friend. He joined about three months before I did, and although I originally intended to join the Army, I have no regrets of joining the Navy. He enlisted as an AM which is an aircraft mechanic. I won’t go into my job in the military, but I chose a job that would test me more than I had ever been tested before.
Boot camp is an experience that every veteran remembers. It causes you to become close to people you normally wouldn’t even talk to. You build a bond stronger than glue, and that bond is built over mutual affliction. Boot camp isn’t easy. You are taken from everything that is familiar, given a haircut, dressed in cloths that must remain perfect, and your individuality is stripped. You wake up early, go to bed late, spend the entire day moving, running, doing pushups, you name it. You get yelled at, made fun of; broken down. But through this, you are surrounded by likeminded guys that share the same goal. You build a brotherhood using values and integrity as your building blocks.
Graduation from boot camp seems like the end, but as soon as graduation ends, you realize that your journey has just begun. After boot camp, you split off into your schools to develop your skills. Some schools are short, and some are long. Some are combat oriented, and some are support oriented. Although you lose contact with those you went to boot camp with, you never lose their memories. If you saw a battle buddy or ship mate from boot camp after ten years, you could pick up from where you left off the day you last saw each other.
Through additional training, you develop more friendships and brotherhood bonds. Some of the training is the hardest physically and mentally in the world. Suffering right next to you is your brother; someone with that common bond developed to be stronger and stronger every day. You become a team, unbreakable.
That’s the bond that you develop. When you have the highest caliber of people around you, you are humbled. You are forced to be your best. You fine tune your skills, you develop a knowledge base, and you feed your warrior mindset. You are unstoppable.
Every single man and woman in the United States Military would fight to the death for our freedoms. I believe I speak for all of us when I say that it hurts to see our country as divided as it is right now.
When you leave the country to fight on foreign soil, you fantasize about your home land. You remember the beautiful sun rises and sun sets. You remember the mountains, beaches, valleys, rivers. You remember smiling at strangers as you walk down the street of your home town. You think about the people you love and miss. When you’re overseas, you miss the little things. You remember what you are fighting for and that is what keeps you strong.
You fight for the rights of that individual stomping their feet on the American Flag. You fight for the rights of the protesters turned rioters. As a warrior, you fight for peace. You tolerate violence and war so that the civilians of the United States don’t have to. You see horrible things and deal with the aftermath of losing friends to combat so that others don’t have to. You do the unthinkable, so that it remains un-thought about by the public. That’s why it’s so hard to see violence growing in the United States.
As a veteran now, it is difficult to re integrate back to “normal” life. You have a heightened sense of awareness that is only common among other warriors. This awareness extends farther than your surroundings. You are aware of the true evil in the world and you are aware of the judgment against you. Many veterans have to deal with the loss of friends, arguably family. Brothers.
After nearly a decade in the Navy, I chose to get out of the military and become a Police Officer. I now have a family and I serve my community locally. Veterans make the best cops, period. They have that sense of duty and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the public they serve.
If I could give advice to the youth of America, I would tell them not to believe everything they hear. Be open minded. Pick apart theories of teachers and develop your own mindset and stance. Pick apart stories told by the media and seek alternate sides of the story. Seek the truth. Be a good follower and become a great leader. Respect the Police. Many of them are veterans and the Police are here to protect our rights and freedoms too. Most of all, love. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Remember that everyone has their struggles and that your right to criticize that, is being fought for by the men and women of the United States Military.