I’m exhausted, my muscles are still aching, and I smell bad, yet I write this essay with a renewed sense of enthusiasm as a lifelong dream begins to come true. I have just completed my first drill with my RSP unit, which is the first step in a long journey that I have wanted to take ever since I was a young boy. My first memories of anything to do with the military would have to be sitting along a road as I watched local National Guard units at a Memorial Day parade. I remember thinking “those guys are the coolest guys I have ever seen.” That feeling of wonder and enthusiasm with the military have grown with me as I attended air shows with my family, and was even allowed to sit in the cockpit of my cousins fighter jet. From those early days in my youth I have been saying “that is what I want do when I grow up.”
The feelings of pride I have felt for my country and admiration for the dedication that the men and women of the Armed Forces instilled in me as a young boy continues to be present in my life. As I continued to express my desire to be a member of our nation’s Armed Forces, my life came to one of many cross roads where a decision would have to be made. I had two goals in my life, which I was adamant about achieving, joining the military, and attending a competitive business school. I chose to attend college, a decision which I do not regret today. However, many of my close friends immediately entered the service. As I would hear stories about what they were doing, and what it was like to finally be in, it reconfirmed my intentions of joining. A few years later I was at my college graduation ceremony, and watched as the lead ROTC candidate received a saber as recognition for his achievements. It was then I felt an emotion, which I try to live my life without; regret. It was at that time that I formed my plan to finally commit to the life I wanted to be a part of. I had been offered a job to work in Pennsylvania, and it was there that I would commit myself to joining the National Guard. My plan was to settle down with my civilian career, and then enlist as soon as I was comfortable. Then life happened, my final answer to my lifelong question began to look further from the reality of what would actually occur. One other thing around this time that I noticed was that no matter who you tell, but if you say “I am joining the military” everyone will give you their opinion on it, whether asked or not. It was also around this time that I learned that the only person’s opinion about it that mattered was my own. That opinion had stood the test of time as I talked passion and pride about the desire to join the service.
Two years later, I can happily say that I am on the doorstep of this new world. I have taken my time, done my homework, and I begin this transition with a passion that keeps me awake at night. Not having the military family ties, and having several options as to where I could have gone in life, I am where I want to be. This is where I belong. One of the greatest things happened to me today; I became a part of a unit of 40 young adults who are exactly where they want to be and exactly where they belong. To witness the same passion, which has been such a key component in the decisions I have made in life mirrored back to me is a thrill. With some luck, we will all get to be a part of an organization, which lets us be “the coolest guys in the world” and that is what drives me to succeed.
Spc. Daniel McVety
Worcester “Vipers” RSP