Twenty-two years, two months and one day ago (Aug. 25, 2012), I graduated from Randolph Central High School (Class of 1990) and two hours later I was at the Buffalo MEPS leaving for Army Basic Training. I left my home town of Steamburg with the idea of spending three years in the Army and figuring out what I wanted to do when I grow up. Needless to say, I am still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.
Over the past 22 years, I have been blessed with the most wonderful lady I have ever met, my wife Laura. She is the rock I have leaned on for 18 years now. Laura has been thru it all with me, deployments, moving from state to state, and living in every environment from major metro areas to desolate deserts 100 miles from anything, and anywhere in between, thru injuries and wounds with hospital stays measured in months, and all the rehabilitation.
Laura and I have two wonderful children, Morgan, 17, and Jacob, 14. Both are honor roll students at Pine Forest High School, in Fayetteville, N.C. Morgan is in the Class of 2013 and she plans on being a marine biologist. Jake is planning on attending medical school and is in the Class of 2015.
Throughout my time in service, I have witnessed history being made and have been around the world and back at least twice. I have served as a communications soldier and NCO, an explosive ordnance disposal technician and NCO with duty stations in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Kentucky, Utah, Virginia, North Carolina and Germany. I have deployed to Kosovo, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. My duty positions include communications specialist, communications NCO, EOD team member, EOD team leader, chemical/biological national response team leader, Operations NCO, instructor and training division officer, and three duty assignments as an EOD first sergeant. I have worked with hundreds of soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen, along with hundreds of civilian law enforcement officers from small-town sheriffs to federal agents, provided VIP support to the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of state. I started my career as a private (Slick Sleeve for some of the older veterans) and culminated with being selected for attendance to the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy and selection for promotion to the rank of sergeant major. However I did not attend the Academy and have retired due to injuries suffered during my OEF deployment.
My successful military career is a direct reflection of the morals, ethics, and values that I was raised with in our small community. Family, friends, coaches, and teachers I grew up with are just as important to my success as my wife, children, friends, mentors, and fellow service members. I would like to say "Thank You" to all who have influenced and assisted me throughout my military career but it's impossible to single you all out. As I start on a new path for my life my current plans are as follows: 1. Spend the next few years with my children as they finish high school and start their adult lives because I spent so much time away during their lives; 2. Spend time with my wife and support her career as a veterinarian technician just as she has supported mine, and; 3. Go fishing and hunting just to enjoy the sights and sounds.
An individual's success is a reflection of their morals, values, ethics, and personal strength, and all of these come from everyone who has ever been involved in their lives. Thank you to my wife Laura and my children Morgan and Jake, you're the strongest people I know. Thank you to my family and friends in the Steamburg and Randolph area of New York. Thank you to my mother and stepfather, Florence and Richard Morgan, and everyone else who was an influence in my life, there are too many family and friends to name you all.