I never envisioned myself as a member of the Armed Forces until I met the children, brothers, and sisters of the men and women that serve this nation so boldly. These youth enlisted my commitment to serve long before any green recruiter at the local ROTC could convince me. I knew that the Armed Forces offered opportunity and could change the lives of those that gave of themselves to its ranks, but also I was awakened to take up a greater role and become part of something more significant than myself. I yearn to be a part of that great order and know that my contributions and God-given attributes will be of great impact to those with whom I may serve. I want to join the United States Navy so that I can live with order, structure and discipline, and work in an environment designed for personal achievement. I want to join the Unites States Navy to better the lives of others and improve my own through selfless service and dedication to the defense of American liberties. I want to earn my membership in a fraternity of men and women networked throughout the globe that have, are and will serve as honorable members of the United States Navy. I want to put on that uniform and proudly serve with honor, courage and commitment as a Sailor in the United States Navy.
For much of my adult life I have worked long and arduous hours as a professional in the field of Developmental Therapy. It is a taxing job that demands patience and giving, often withdrawing the attributes from you like the great magnets that suck up the iron ore in the mine fields of Pennsylvania. The payoff is worth the sacrifice when one of the individuals that I work with makes remarkable advances in one area or another. During this time I have learned that man, regardless of disabilities or imperfections, thrives on order and discipline. We are truly creatures of habit. I too blossom when my life is organized with the structure and discipline that also accompany engagement in the United State Navy. The US Navy seeks only to better their crew and their leaders by instilling a sense of constant upward motion. Man is not meant to live stagnant but rather to climb and evolve and learn and develop himself into a better individual. I see this as an environment ripe with opportunity, privilege and expectations, as an ideal climate for me to accelerate my own personal development and build upon my diverse skill set. As a young man I set a list of goals that still roll around in my head. I will earn both my master’s and doctorate degrees in the fields of linguistics and cultural anthropology. I will continue to educate myself through experience and hard work. I will share my knowledge that I might pass it on and enrich the lives of others. I will seek to expand my worth as a contributing member of my community, my nation and the world and in the Navy that will be possible. Above my desk there is a saying, “Live every minute and Do everything better.” Joining the Navy is the next step for me.
As a counselor for the National Military Families Association’s Operation Purple Camp offered to the children of deployed family members, each summer I have been invited into the intimate lives of a select group of young people that truly see their dads and moms, big brothers and big sisters as heroes and protectors. They shared their admiration for and fears for their kin in a way that I have never before seen. After this last year of volunteering I have been so moved by their love and compassion for their men and women in uniform that I cannot help but feel the great and urgent responsibility to serve the United States of America. I learned, ever so poignantly that not only do the parents and siblings of these exceptional teenagers put their lives at risk on the fields of battle but these delicate youth serve our nation as they uphold their family values and build up those around them, helping them to understand that great importance of military service. I was invited to be a part of this camp 6 years ago when it first began and I am proud to say that I volunteer my time each year to mentor, coach, and lift up these youth and I am greatly looking forward to many more years of service with the organization. I hope that my example as an American joining the United States Navy will urge the younger generations to continue to show their upmost respect for our military. I hope that my continued dedication to this choice opportunity and my willingness to give, not only of my time but to lay down my life for the principles that I hold dear, will be the impetus to change even a single life.
I have lived a long life for a man of merely thirty. I have seen parts of the world that most people only hear stories about in the Saturday night drama on cable television. My life has been exceptional and difficult. Yet my difficulties pale in comparison to others. I shudder at the thought of abandoning my youth because I lost a parent to war. I cringe when I see the struggles of those in developing nations that yearn for freedom and peace. We Americans are a fortunate lot. I cannot deny that fact. I have seen many of these struggles first hand. While serving an LDS Mission in Côte d’Ivoire I saw the ravages of a nation divided and felt the pain of hatred as I was chased out of cities for being the white colonizer. I have witnessed hunger and have felt the soul-wrenching guilt of real poverty. I know what it means to truly have nothing yet be willing to do anything to defend the ones I love. I know that as a member of the United States Navy I will be faced with formidable and life altering challenges that will require much from me. I will be asked to pull from within myself the strength to end life, the compassion to give nourishment, to expertise save lives, and the wisdom to uphold the laws that we cherish. I will do all of this at great risk to my own life. I am prepared to give all that is required of me and more. Yet, even with this understanding I cannot neglect this sense of being called to stand up and join rank. I cannot explain it but I feel it is my duty. I have often felt that my life is intended to be lived in the service of my fellow man and now I understand where I can fulfill that majestic appointment. I can honestly say that I do not fear death but a life of insignificance. In this era of our modern history we cannot ignore those that have served our nation diligently. When I lay down to take that eternal slumber I can only pray that I will be seen as having lived every last minute to its fullest. As a member of the United States Navy I know that vision will become reality.
The Navy plays a special role in the history of my own family. My maternal grandfather often spoke of his grand adventures as a sailor in the Pacific just after World War II had ended. I was always fascinated by his readily embellished tales of exotic ports of call and the camaraderie that he shared with his fellow sailors. I was greatly touched to meet the man my grandfather called his best friend. The two men had stayed in contact for more than 50 years when my grandfather had passed. Their history and their friendship began at the Naval Training Station at Loma Portal in San Diego. What a great legacy they had shared. I want so much be a part of that and to stand at the grave of my grandfather and those that have fallen before me in my uniform as an enlisted member of the United States Navy and salute the man that has inspired so much good in my life. I can only hope that I too will be such an influence in the lives of others and that I can create a rapport that will develop into a lifetime of respect and admiration of my brothers and sisters in arms.
I know that my obligation to the United States Navy is more than just a job, it’s more than just a career, it is more than just a sacrifice, it is a heartfelt dedication to a cause and a credo where I as a simple man can give of myself for my fellow Americans and for those that we may serve abroad. Being a Sailor is a way of life, it is adopting principles of self-betterment, honor, integrity, dignity, and pride. I have set my sites on a lifelong career as a member of this elite group of men and women that make up the United States Navy. I am prepared and ready to make the sacrifices necessary to serve my nation, “Non sibi sed patriae,” and to uphold the values that make us strong. I am eager to begin this journey and ready to stand with Honor, Courage, and Commitment as a Sailor in the United States Navy.