I was 17 years old when I enlisted in the Army and had no clue what I was getting myself into! I knew I lacked the grades and finances to attend college, but more importantly, I knew I did not possess the discipline or the maturity to take on such a feat. What I did know was that if I wanted to be successful in life, I had to leave my small town in California, and I had to do it quickly. My recruiter sold me on the Army almost immediately.....okay, okay, it wasn't that hard to sell. I believed before I left for basic combat training the Army would provide me with a better lifestyle by providing the discipline and structure I so desperately needed at that point in my life, while opening up future educational opportunities. Since I left my hometown 1992, I have never looked back. After nearly a decade of trudging through college courses between field training exercises with Infantry and Field Artillery units, I earned my college degree and completed Officer Candidate School in 2005. Who would have thought?
In July I will have 19 years of service and I, like those that have come before me, find myself asking, "Where has the time gone?" I never imagined when I left home in the summer of '92 that I would still be wearing this uniform today....but I have to tell you, I'm extremely proud that I am still serving alongside so many great Americans.