This past February I hung up my uniform after 12 years of service, the decision had taken over a year to arrive at and to this day I still wonder if it was the right one.
I look back at where I started, where I was in life and all the changes that have transpired since then, and it still amazes me. I suppose next to family those 12 years in uniform were the one constant in life. Jobs had come and gone, relationships had started and ended, living situations had changed, but no matter what formation came at the same time and regardless of the mission or training or where I was stationed, the soldiers to my left and right were upholding the oath we had all sworn.
In some ways your unit becomes a family, usually a dysfunctional one, but a family all the same. You have your father figures and your mother types and the unruly children, but when that warning order comes in it all works and those men beside you become the most important people in the world. Do I regret the time away from home, the starting over every time I came back, the uncertainty of where I might be sent next or the knowledge of what that oath might have taken to uphold? No. If I had it to do all over again I would in a heartbeat. The Army and this country gave me so much. In many ways it has made me a better person outside of the service and has helped me in innumerable ways in my current profession. I will carry those lessons with me forever.