"My Career and Other Accidents" is one man's journey as a professional soldier. It was not the path he intended to take, but it would challenge and inspire him for over 30 years. The story starts in his earliest days as his father's coached and prepared him for military service. Over three decades of service are recounted with his successes, follies, and poor decisions laid bare for the reader. Originally written for his grandchildren with a touch of humor, this author's story is worthy of a larger audience.
It is a tale from an old Paratrooper' whose boots have seen their fair share of mud and dirt. Proud to have served, but to quote one of his own father's Army Air Corps drinking songs, he is "loyal to the outfit, but rotten to the corps."
For over 12 years the author served in the infantry. The experience shaped his view of the world and forever altered the way he approached problems. He started as a rifleman in an 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg NC, where standards are high and discipline uncompromising. Newlywed, he and his wife traveled to Germany for his first foreign duty assignment. He served as a first-line leader training and leading scouts as a Non-Commission Officer in the Cold Wars' most politically sensitive location, Berlin.
Changing career paths, the author left the active Army to pursue an undergraduate degree at Oregon State University. During his years at college, he led a Rifle Platoon in the Oregon National Guard first as an Army ROTC Cadet and then as a Lieutenant. Returning to active duty he completed the Army's Ranger School before serving with the 7th Infantry Division (Light) as a Platoon Leader and junior staff officer.
Suffering from a long-term back injury motivated another career change. He transitioned into military logistics as a Transportation Corps junior officer. Serving with numerous active Army and Army Reserve units he refined his skills as a Transporter, Logistician, and Staff Officer. He maintained an infantryman's aggressive disposition for action but employed a logistician's analytics perspective during his five deployments to conflict zones.
With the Fort Bragg 1st Corps Support Command, he supported Operations Prime Chance in Bahrain as a staff officer. Within a year he returned to the Middle East as a Company Commander during Operation Desert Storm / Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia. A decade later as an Army Reserve Commander of a Joint Army and Air Force Logistics Task Force, he traveled the dangerous roads of Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Returning to the newly reorganized multi-component 1st Theater Sustainment Command to support Operation Enduring Freedom from Kuwait. In 2010 he returned to Iraq for his last time. Serving with the Army Reserves' 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command he managed sustainment operations throughout the troubled country.
A graduate of many military courses and schools the author's military education began at Basic Combat Training in 1976. His formal education culminated with his graduation from the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks in 2009. Countless skills were studied, practiced, and refined during his career. However, it was those skills associated with leading soldiers that were constant in his day-to-day life.
Who should read this story? For those considering the service or who find themselves in the ranks, there are many lessons and insights into the profession of arms and our Army's culture. History enthusiasts will find a first-person's view of several Middle East conflicts and the logistics operation which sustained them. Finally, for those veterans who once suffered under the weight of a ruck, faced stiff resistance from arbitrary leaders, exhausted soldiers, and dysfunctional systems this story may revive your own long-lost memories.