Deciding to Join

When I first started college in 2002 I wanted to go to OCS after graduation. However during this time, the 18 X-Ray program became popular. By signing an 18 X-Ray contract, I could guarantee myself a chance to go to Special Forces Selection . I would have to enlist rather than go to OCS and the chances of me earning the fabled Green Beret were about 10-15%. Despite these odds, the Special Forces appealed to me due to their specialization in un-conventional warfare. Green Berets are deployed in situations in which knowing the culture, customs and language of the people is just as, if not more important than the weapons you carry. When the Special Forces first started during WWII as the Office of Strategic Services, the ideal man they were looking for was a, “PhD. that can win a bar fight.”

After carefully thinking about which path to take, I decided that I wanted to be a Green Beret. I had read books, talked to numerous people, thought and prayed about it. The ability to be apart of an elite unit that emphasized intellectualism just as much as it emphasized tactics, appealed to me.

Once I had made the decision, my mind was made up and nothing could convince me otherwise.

On March 7, 2007 it was time for me to head to Infantry Basic Training. While I sat in the Albany International Airport, waiting for my flight to Atlanta, the gravity of the situation hit me. Nothing would be the same again. My girlfriend (now wife) was probably going to break up with me. I was going to miss so much in my friends and families lives. I had no clue what my future held for me, except that it led to Iraq or Afghanistan.

At 22 years old, I was a former two-time captain of my college football team and on my way to begin Special Forces training. Despite my seemingly tough exterior, I was still a kid and scared. I began crying un-controllably in the airport. I was faced with the toughest decision of my life up until that point; do I take the easy road or the hard road, do I get on the plane or not? My mind told me not to, but my heart and gut told me that I needed to. I knew that once I stepped onto the plane I was inviting myself into a lifestyle of pain, misery and uncertainty. But as President Regan said, I had a “rendezvous with destiny” and it began with Infantry Basic Training at Fort Benning, Georgia.

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