12 November 2015
I’m laying in bed, unable to fall asleep. Today started out rough. Debating politics had me fired up, followed by a Calc quiz that I was totally unprepared for.

Luckily, I had Institute afterwards, my mind being calmed a little. When I got home though, I still couldn’t focus. I put on some hymns, and went to work, getting everything I needed to get done today before lab.

Our ROTC lab was a cold one. Informative, but chaotic, with dropping temperatures and fading sunlight. After finishing up an hour after our official end time (per usual), we formed up, with me eager to contract. We were dismissed though, so I approached the captain asking if we’d just do it the next time.

He cursed for forgetting, called everyone back into a horseshoe, had me come up, and I took the oath. It was an oath to serve my country in the name of God and justice.

I couldn’t stop grinning ear to ear. Everyone shook my hand and congratulated me. I felt on top of the world. It has taken me so long to get here, my journey (hindsight 20/20) guided.

I’ve always wanted to serve in the military, “earning” my rights (not necessary, but a personal conviction). I always wanted to be a Marine—a Devil Dog—and held an unnatural bias against the Army (inherited from my dad because of his dad’s tendency to exaggerate). I never considered the Army, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I didn’t get to go to a military service academy, and the Virginia Military Institute wasn’t in the cards either. Although I’ve been on the path for as long as I can imagine, my immediate journey started with a phone call to Mr. Ryan Hansen, Boise State’s recruiting officer for the Army ROTC program while I was still on my mission. I had come to know his dad in my first area, so I had his phone number written down nearly the entire two years.

I explained that I wanted the military science minor but had zero intentions of ever joining the Army. He said to just give it a try, and if I don’t like it, I can walk away scotch-free within my first two years.

I fell in love during our Fall FTX. I had so much fun, and we were only playing Army! It was that weekend (General Conference weekend), that I knew the Army was the road I’d take.

And now I’m here. I worked my butt off to get here. I’ve taken the PT test nearly every week for a month-and-a-half trying to get a score of 250. I woke up early to run with Mohlke, I went to the gym every night on my own, and Parsons paced me in my run. I made it. Mentally and physically. It took everything I had, though. I seriously considered if I could take it morale-wise to fall short every Monday I tried again.

I thought of Dad in the police academy a lot. I thought of Shalene. It was hard to realize that my best still wasn’t good enough. But I didn’t let it get me down. I went back in and killed it, scoring a 267!

I did it. I needed that mental strengthening. I can already feel how much it’s boosted my confidence.

In talking with Shalene tonight, I remembered my days of wrestling. I think it returned for the glory more than an appreciation for the sport. Everyone always thought I must be tough as nails since I wrestled (no easy feat).

My approach to ROTC is the same I am lot of ways. I like standing out from my peers. I can’t tell you how many times people have given reasons why they can’t do ROTC—”It’s too early” or “It’s to tough”. That’s what keeps me going.
Now watch me take on the world.

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