Why I want to be a U.S. Army Officer
Why I Want to be a U.S. Army Officer
One reason I want to become an Army officer is the impact of my father’s military career on my life. I was born in
, where my father was stationed at the time. Since then, I have seen more of the Germany and world in my 22 years than some people see in a lifetime. I also gained an extended military family that my family still keeps in touch with. As grateful as I am for those benefits, life as an Army brat was not easy. I remember the missed sports games and recitals as much as the holiday parties and welcome home parades. As an officer, I will be leading soldiers from their loved ones but with an understanding of what they are all feeling. This only gives me more encouragement to better perform as an officer and bring my soldiers home safe. U.S.
Another reason I want to become an Army officer is the learning experience junior officers receive. My time as an officer will involve training through the numerous exercises and schools, but I will also be learning from the soldiers under my command. Soldiers and NCOs are the base of the Army, and they are very important to the development of junior officers. One piece of advice I have received is how to recognize a good NCO. A good NCO knows that a Lieutenant with one day of time in service outranks any NCO with over 20 years of time in service. This does NOT mean that a green Lieutenant becomes a military expert once he or she pins on the gold bars. A good officer knows that his or her NCOs have a wealth of information and experience from their own military careers. Engineering has a similar structure, and I have experienced it during my co-op and internship. Technicians, project inspectors, and surveyors are non-engineers, but they are the employees that engineers rely heavily on. There were times when my engineering supervisors asked technicians for advice regarding a certain project because of the engineers’ lack of knowledge of the situation. As an Army officer, I expect to have a similar relationship with my NCOs. When I first meet those soldiers, I will know next to nothing compared to them, but if I keep my mouth shut and ears open once in a while, I can learn a few things and leave each assignment as a better officer.
My last and most important reason regarding my desire to become an Army officer is because I believe it is my duty. I have been raised to help those who cannot help themselves, performing volunteer work since I was 10 years old. I have spent hours working in homeless shelters, tutoring children, assisting the elderly, and working with HIV/AIDS patients, but I feel like I can do more. I am 22 years old, in good health, and I will have my Bachelor of Science degree in August 2006. I meet the minimum qualifications for an OCS college option applicant, and I want to become an officer. I do not want to spend my life wondering if I could have done more. I want to know I did everything.
Now for a few comments:
I began writing this essay in November 05, shortly after I first met with my recruiter, let's call him SGT Ex. I didn't finish it until January 06. I know it seems like a short and to-the-point statement, but it took months before I knew what I was doing. Everything I feel inside is so hard to explain (hence the "I want to know I did everything" ending, cheesy but true). On top of all that, I am really, really modest. I absolutely hate talking about good things I do. I can talk about school, friends, family and those damn quirky incidents that somehow keep happening to me, but when talking about me, I always feel like I'm bragging and feel embarrassed. I've been told many times I am way too critical of myself, and I've just now realized that they've been right all along. Dammit! Anyway, it's been years with the Army on my mind and about 7 months since I actually started the OCS application process, but I think I've finally found a way to explain how I feel. Here it goes. . .
The words to describe that feeling (that deep down thing driving me to do all this) pretty much slapped me in the face when I first read the Rocky Mountain News' special report titled The Final Salute (WARNING: find an hour of freetime, a quiet place, and a lot of tissues). It follows Marine Maj. Steve Beck, assigned to casualty notification. It's a very touching story and, while reading it for the first time, I pretty much cried my eyes out. The military, any branch, is a hard decision for people to make. To give up your life and some of those very freedoms being fought for with the possibility of coming home in a flag-draped coffin is not all that appealing to many people. But to me, it's everything. Thousands of men and women before me have risked and lost their lives for this country, for the future. Now here I am, the future. What have I done that is so deserving of their sacrifices? Well, I graduated from high school, went to A&M, majored in civil engineering, and I will graduate in December. I've done plenty of volunteer work, helping everyone from young children to the sick and elderly. But isn't there more I can do? I'm 22, able-bodied (a little on the skinny side), and have never been in serious trouble with the law. Yes, there is more that I can do. It's time for me to honor the sacrifices of the men and women before me. It's my time to step up to the challenge of the military. And as nervous as I am and as scared as my loved ones are, I feel like I am doing the right thing. Please know that I believe in our country, and our flag, and I am willing to fight for them and for the future.
Well. . .
Memorial Day is on Monday, and I will be helping to herd a bunch of middle school girls around campus for a week-long summer camp, so I will add my little message to this already long post.
Thank you to the current and former men and women of the military. Your bravery and sacrifice are the reasons I am here today, and I will forever remember that. Thank you for your courage. May I continue that tradition when I finally earn the uniform. And may God bless you and your families on this day and every day.