Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Finding A Way to Serve Others

This month, we are honoring veterans and current military personnel. Bryan is an AmeriCorps NCCC corps member from the Pacific Region, and is also a veteran of the Army National Guard. 

Bryan's unit at Forward Operating Base training
As a young kid, I always admired the way soldiers were respected and had a sense of nobility about them.  Some of my family members served in the Armed Forces back in Ecuador, and as little kid I would always look at their pictures and imagine myself in their uniforms.  As I got older my ambition to join grew stronger by the year.

At the beginning of my junior year in high school, a military school contacted me and accepted my registration. On April 21, 2010, I began military school for 6 months. During that time I was trained physically and mentally while also going to school to get my GED. After I graduated from military school, I waited 2 months until I turned 17 and was able to enlist in the Armed Forces.
I enlisted on April 21, 2011 under the U.S. Army/National Guard branch. I joined with an E2 (PVT. 2nd class) and was one of the youngest soldiers in my battalion.  I went to basic training for 2 months in Oklahoma, and did AIT (Advanced Individual Training) which was 91C (HVAC training) for 3 months in Virginia.  After that, I joined my unit, and about 3 months later, I was shipped off to Kuwait for 4 months working at the FOB (Forward Operating Base).

My experience there was eye-opening for me.  It was great meeting new battle buddies (a term we use to call other fellow soldiers), but it wasn't easy.  I lost close friends, and saw how hard war and conflict could be.  My experience in the Army was so influential to me that even after I left I still wanted to serve and help those in need.

Bryan's team, Silver 3
Through AmeriCorps NCCC, I am able to accomplish that goal.  In my position as a VST (Vehicle, Safety & Tools), I am able to use my prior military experience and skills whenever needed.  Because of this, my service as a corps member and VST are of extra value and I feel comfortable contributing in these ways. 
Brought to you by AmeriCorps NCCC, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
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