Category Archives: Army

Retired from the Military

After 22 years of military service, I officially retired from the U.S. Army on May 1, 2019. This blog is a little late because I originally didn’t want to write about it because I was ready to close that chapter of my life. But now that the dust has settled, I am more comfortable with it.

This story will take you through the five locations I was stationed, starting in 1997, when I was 18 years old.

Basic Training:

I entered the Army (Active Duty) in July of 1997. I was fresh out of High School and ready to take on the world. That is, until I arrived at Fort Benning, Georgia for my Infantry Basic Training. I won’t lie, it was a complete culture shock for me. I needed that.

“Follow me”

I graduated Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training (AIT), and 11M (Mechanized) school in November of 1997.

First Duty Station:

My first duty station was at Fort Hood, Texas (1997-1999). I was with the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) 1-22 INF (M). During that time period, my duties were:

  • Bradley Driver
  • M249 SAW Gunner
  • Dismount Team Leader
PV2 Hughes – Operation Desert Shield (ODS) Bradley Driver
Mechanized Infantry Gunnery – Leader Board
CBRN Exercise at the National Training Center (NTC) Fort Irwin, CA

I met some fantastic leaders and friends, while stationed at Fort Hood. I still communicate with two of my friends so it is pretty safe to say, we are friends for life.

Second Duty Station:

My second duty station was at Camp Casey, South Korea (1999-2000). I was with the 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) 2-9 Infantry (M). During that time period, my duties were:

  • M249 SAW Gunner
  • M240B Gunner
  • Team Leader
Training on mountains in South Korea
Some of the best training I’ve ever experienced, thanks to the leadership.

I will always consider my time in South Korea special because it helped me develop a better understanding of the world. Plus, it made me appreciate what I had back in the United States. That was a great teaching tool.

Mandatory requirement: The Manchu mile (road march) – 25 miles.

Third Duty Station:

My third duty station was at Xenia, Ohio (2000-2003). I was with the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (BCT) 1-148th INF. During that time period, my duties were:

  • Team Leader
  • Squad Leader

Professional Development courses:

  • Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC) at Fort Knox, KY
Training Exercise at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, CA
Operation Noble Eagle

After the tragedies of September 11, 2001, we deployed to support the Operation Noble Eagle mission. During this mission, I determined it was time to switch my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), even though I knew I would miss being Infantry (11B).

Fourth Duty Station:

My fourth duty station was at Columbus, Ohio (2003-2007). I was with the 52nd Civil Support Team (CST) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). This gave me the opportunity to change my MOS from 11B to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Specialist.

Elementis Regamus Proelium

During that time period, my duties were:

  • Survey Team Member
  • Survey Team Chief

Professional Development courses:

  • Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course (BNCOC) at Fort Leonard Wood, MO
  • Technical Escort at Redstone Arsenal, AL
  • Civil Support Skills Course (CSCC) at Fort Leonard Wood, MO
  • 74D Reclass at Fort Leonard Wood, MO
Level A Suit – Training Exercise
Level B Suit – Training Exercise
Training with the Coast Guard in Buffalo, NY

I had the pleasure of working with multiple civilian agencies, to include: fire departments, HazMat teams, and local/state/federal law enforcement.

The Ohio State Buckeyes stadium

Fifth | Final Duty Station:

My fifth | final duty station was also at Columbus, Ohio (2007-2019). I was with 73rd Troop Command.

During that (long) time period, my duties were:

  • Readiness Noncommissioned Officer (NCO)
  • Training NCO
  • Detachment NCO
  • Brigade Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)
  • Unit Victim Advocate (UVA)
  • Suicide Intervention Officer (SIO)
  • Master Resilience Trainer (MRT)
  • Brigade Operational Security Operations Officer (OPSEC)

Professional Development courses:

  • Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course (ANCOC) at Fort Leonard Wood, MO
  • Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) at Fort Custer, MI
  • Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention (SHARP) Foundation Course at Columbus, OH
  • Unit Victim Advocate (UVA) at Columbus, OH
During a flight in a Blackhawk Helicopter
Facilitating a Resilience Trainer Assistant (RTA) course
Supporting the Brigade Best Warrior Competition (BWC)
We hosted the Sexual Assault & Prevention Month (SAAPM) events (2016-2018)

Given that I was with 73rd Troop Command for 12 years, it was without question my favorite unit. The mission was incredibly important and an honor to support.

I was getting closer…
Raising my right hand in 3 different versions of the Army uniform

A few of my great friends set up a phenomenal retirement lunch for me, back in early February. The food was incredibly good but the people are what made it special, for me.

Lunch was so good!
My retirement gift (1 of 2)
My retirement gift (2 of 2)
Saying goodbye to 73rd Troop Command and Rickenbacker

I out-processed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. I was excited, happy, sad, nervous, and optimistic (all at the same time) when I was handed my final paperwork. 22 years had finally come to fruition. 22 years – It is true what they say about time; it goes by so fast.

There are so many stories I could share. But for now, these images and short paragraphs will have to do. I want to thank every service member I had the honor and privilege to serve with, throughout my career.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Memorial Day – SPC Shane Ahmed

I’ve had the honor of serving in the United States Army for 21 years, with the following units:

  • A Co 1-22 INF (M) / Fort Hood, Texas [1997-1999]
  • D Co 2-9 INF (M) / Camp Casey, South Korea [1999-2000]
  • A Co 1-148th INF**/ Xenia, Ohio [2000-2003]
  • 52nd CST (WMD) / Columbus,Ohio [2003-2007]
  • 73rd Troop Command / Columbus, Ohio [2007-Present]

So, Memorial Day is very important to me and my fellow Service Members, given the meaning behind it.

This weekend, I will be thinking about SPC Shane Ahmed and our other fallen brothers and sisters during:

RIP – SPC Shane Ahmed

What I wear on my wrist while in uniform.

I had the honor of serving with him in A Co 1-148th INF, during our support for Operation Noble Eagle (2001-2002).

He is gone but will never be forgotten.

For more information about SPC Shane Ahmed: https://www.iraqwarheroes.org/ahmed.htm

I hope everyone has a fun and safe 3-day weekend. However, please take some time to reflect on the meaning behind this holiday.

Resource used for military operations: http://www.roswellmemorialday.com/history/timeline-of-americas-wars/

2018 SAAPM 5k Color Run/Walk Event

Yesterday I had the honor of co-hosting our 3rd annual Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month (SAAPM) 5k Color Run/Walk Event at Rickenbacker (Columbus), Ohio. This was a joint operation that involved four branches of services.

Reference my post: SAAPM 2018 for additional information about Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month.

This event was designed to bring awareness to sexual assault survivors, sexual harassment, and prevention/bystander intervention. I want to personally thank the victim advocates, chain of command, volunteers, the participants (100+), and most importantly, my friend and mentor, Captain J. Green (121 ARW SARC).

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)

Defintions:

  1. Sexual Assault
  2. Sexual Harassment
  3. Bystander Intervention
Definition provided by RAINN
Definition provided by Google Dictionary
Definition provided by RAINN

This was a significant event for me because it will be my last SAAPM event for the military. Reference my post: Preparing for Life After the Military

Preparing for the 5k registration

I can honestly say, the entire month was a huge success. The In Their Honor event on the 20th was truly unique, we had tons of participation for National Denim Day on the 25th. The culminating event was the 5k Color Run/Walk Event on the 27th of April.

In Their Honor event – 20 April 2018
In Their Honor event – 20 April 2018
National Denim Day – 25 April 2018
5k Color/Walk Run Event – 27 April 2018

Again, I want to thank everyone for this amazing journey and I am positive the 2019 events will be even better.

“We are the force behind the fight to achieve culture change.”

Note: The photo used for the cover is from the 2017 5k Color/Walk Run Event. The official photos have not been published, yet.

For my information about the author, reference my post: About the Author

Preparing for Life After the Military

In May of 2019, I will retire from the military. This will be the conclusion to a very important chapter of my life that started on 30 July, 1997.

3 uniforms during this journey. BDUs will always be my favorite.

This journey has been an amazing experience, specifically due to the people I’ve had the honor of serving with. Without these people, my experiences would not be the same and more than likely, I would forget about them.

McClain High School – Greenfield, Ohio

I joined the U.S. Army at the age of 18 and if I’m being honest, I was very naive about the real world. I grew up in a very small community so my perception of the world was very limited. I always remind myself: where you came from is extremely important but it doesn’t have anything to do with where you’re going.

I would love to list all the courses I attended during my 20+ years but I don’t want to bore people with the names of 50-60 courses. Instead, I will focus on the 2 courses that had a major impact in my life:

  1. SHARP Foundation Course
  2. Master Resilience Trainer (MRT)

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC): Due to completing the SHARP Foundation Course, I eventually became the SARC for my Brigade, along with my role as a Victim Advocate (VA). I also perform advocacy for my Contingent SARN Advocate position (non-military). I’ve been working in this field for approximately 8 years. Equality is incredibly important to me and I hope to pass on this passion to my children.

2013 – Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month (SAAPM)

Master Resilience Trainer (MRT): Without question, this is the best course I’ve ever completed. Because of this course (certification) I’ve had the pleasure of certifying over 150 Resilience Trainer Assistants (RTA).

2015 – RTA Course

This training is a huge contributing factor to how I managed to turn my life around. I can’t wait to share some new processes that I created for my upcoming book: The Best Version of You. It will be finished in 2018 and will be my 3rd book. This will be my first Self Help book.

In conclusion: I want to thank everyone that has helped me along this journey. I never deployed to support Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) so to some people, my 20+ years might not mean very much. I believed that for almost 10 years.

But that’s not true. As a leader, my job was to take care of people regardless of the location. Therefore, I still contributed to the Army’s mission. I do not regret anything about my career because everything contributed to the person I am today. For that, I love the military and I will truly miss it and the amazing people.