18th August, 2002
Somebody at one of the DEP meetings this week asked me “Why did you join? Was it because of 9/11? That’s why I quit college and signed up; to go fight the people responsible for killing so many innocent Americans.” And it made me realize that I hadn’t even really taken in consideration the current situation the United States was in. Terrorists had flown two planes in to the World Trade Center buildings, which completely destroyed both and killed thousands. Because of that the United States started a war with the Taliban in Afghanistan last year. The Taliban weren’t responsible, but they supported the group that was, Al-Qaida.
I wasn’t sure what to make of that statement though. Was he joining out of revenge? Or was it because of the overwhelming pride that swept the nation following the attacks? I didn’t join for either of those reasons. It never even really occurred to me before tonight. I joined because it was something that I always thought I wanted to do as a kid, and because I cannot stand being stuck in the same place for the rest of my life, doing meaningless jobs with no purpose. I hate living in this state, and I hate feeling trapped. This was my best chance to break free and experience a new life full of adventure and excitement.
Going to Afghanistan to fight terrorists wasn’t something I had ever considered. But I signed up to be an Infantryman, and our main purpose is to be the fighting force of the Army. And I know that it is a good possibility that I could end up over there, especially since I’ll be joining the 10th Mountain Division. Honestly, I wouldn’t have joined if it didn’t mean doing my job no matter what. I would gladly volunteer to go overseas and fight. The key part of experiencing a new life is doing things that are challenging. My Infantry training is going to be a challenge, just like being a new guy in my unit will be a challenge, just like going to fight in Afghanistan would be a challenge. It’s not something that I am afraid of doing.
If I find myself in a war overseas, I will do what I can in order to make sure that my fellow Infantrymen come home safely and fight with honor. Just like those men in Somalia kept fighting for their brothers against the worst odds imaginable. I said before that I wanted to be part of something so deep rooted and if that happens to be fighting the war on terror, then so be it. I’m doing this to better myself as an individual and that can only happen if I face challenges head on. I could have signed up for a nice, easy, cushion job in which I’d never see the front lines, but I chose to be an 11 Bravo. I chose to be the tip of the spear.
I’ve learned that the Army calls the Infantry the “Queen of Battle”. They do so because the Infantry are the most important piece on the board, and all the other jobs main purpose is to support us. Even though I’m not actually an Infantryman until I finish my training, I’m starting to already feel that sense of pride.