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U.S. Army Veteran

The Army turned my life around.  I wasn't a criminal, on any 'wanted' posters, a drug addict, or a neo-anything.  None of that at all.  I wasn't living in my car, wasn't trying to bum money from friends or family, I always had a place to live, and I had no problem keeping a job.  I was brought up with the very best of values in a nice working-class neighborhood, had plenty of friends, excelled at sports & generally anything else that I tried, I didn't come from a broken home (my parents are still together after 50+ years), and I never had any issues that needed tracing back to the depraved childhood that I never had.  The problem was that I didn't want any more than what I had: a job and an every night party.  I was settling for that.  That all changed the day I left for Basic Training at Fort Sill, OK.

It is the single most influential event in my life because it helped mold so much of the man that I am today.  Don't get me wrong: my parents took care of the basics and they did it well (Dad was in the Air Force and Mom is a farmer's daughter).  The Army refined me, honed my character, changed my mindset, and taught me a lot of things that you can't get living at home, as a result of DNA, or with any amount of money.  It opened my eyes in many ways.

The Army gave me many opportunities to do things that I may never have had the chance to do otherwise:

  • I have been to bases & exercises in 5 states: Basic Training at Fort Sill (Lawton, OK), AIT at Fort Bliss (El Paso, TX), regular duty at Fort Bragg (Fayetteville, NC), and training exercises at White Sands Missile Range (NM) and tiny Mena, Arkansas.
  • I was stationed in West Germany for two years just outside of Mainz in barracks that overlooked the Rhine River.  I owned a peppy little German Opel and used it on the Autobahn to go to places all over Germany & the Netherlands. 
  • I have been to 11 countries because of my time in the Army.  Some of the highlights outside of my travels in (West) Germany include: a week on Crete, New Year's Eve in Paris, Venice, Amsterdam, Brussels & Waterloo in Belgium, a train ride through the French/Swiss/Italian Alps, and a night in Juarez (Mexico).
  • I was one of eight soldiers as VIP guests for weapons qualification at the Royal Military Academy of the Netherlands in Breda (see below).  The academy is basically their version of all three of our military academies rolled into one and housed in an old medieval castle surrounded by a 'moat'.  We were the first U.S. soldiers to do so.
  • I've been in the deserts of Texas, New Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq.  Flown in 6 different types of helicopters and 5 different types of military airplanes and got to control the tail refueling probe of a KC-135 during flight (just not during a refueling).
  • I've fired literally dozens of different weapons from a number of countries, the highlights being: a Vulcan 20mm AA gun, AK-47, AK-74, Uzi, M-2 50 cal, M-60, M-16, .45 cal Grease Gun, M249 SAW, and a Stinger Anti-Aircraft Missile (see below).
  • I spent 15 days in the Uwharrie National Forest (somewhere in NC - I'm still not sure where) as an active participant in Robin Sage: the last stage of training before graduation for the Special Forces.  One of the hardest things I've ever loved doing.
  • I have a piece of the Berlin Wall.


Air Defense Artillery: Stinger Missile Team Chief



XVIII Airborne Corps
2-52 Air Defense Artillery
Fort Bragg, North Carolina


3rd Armored Division
2-227 Aviation (Apache)
Iraq, Kuwait & Saudi Arabia
8th Infantry Division
5-3 Air Defense Artillery
Wackernheim, Germany


Individual Awards                     

Army Commendation Medal w/ 1 Oak Leaf Cluster (2 awards)
Army Achievement Medal w/ 2 Oak Leaf Clusters (3 awards)
Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal w/ 3 stars (Desert Shield, Desert Storm & Provide Comfort)
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Government of Kuwait)

Dutch Pistol Qualification Badge
            Browning 9mm Semi-Automatic at the Royal Military Academy of the Netherlands
            (Koninklijke Militaire Academy) in Breda, Netherlands

Expert Qualification Badge
            M16-A2 Rifle, M1911 Colt .45 Semi-Automatic Pistol, Stinger MANPADS Missile &
            M67 Grenade

German Waffenlauf Competition 3rd place medal
            the annual German Army (Bundeswehr) competition

Winner of the bi-annual XVIII Airborne Corps Stinger "Top Gun" competition

Equal Opportunity Representative for my unit (2 years)


Honorable Discharge