When were you drafted or when did you enlist?
I enlisted in April 2017.
Why did you choose your branch of service?
I chose to join the Marine Corps because they are trained to adapt and overcome any obstacle in whatever situation they encounter. I proudly continue to utilize these traits in my current professional and academic career.
What do you remember about that day?
I remember being nervous but optimistic for the opportunities that joining the service provides.
Can you describe a happy moment from your time in the service?
The greatest moment during my service was becoming a Marine. All three months of boot camp led to a culminating experience called ‘The Crucible’. The last event is a hike up the ‘Reaper’. Upon completion of this climb there is an official ceremony to receive your eagle, globe, and anchor symbolizing your official transformation into a United States Marine. After the ceremony, your drill instructors who guided you through the last few months of training finally acknowledge you as members of the brotherhood.
Did your military experience inform the way you think about war or the military in general?
Yes, being able to experience the diversity of personalities of those serving solidifies the human element involved during war and the military.
Who was your best friend in the military during your time at war? Do you still keep in touch with them today?
My best friend in the Marines was a goofy kid named Ian Little. He unfortunately took his life November 9th, 2020. My biggest regret is not being there when it happened. Every year, we have a small get together of veterans from our unit at a local bar and honor him by pouring out a glass.
What were the first few months out of the service like?
My first few months of civilian life was stressful and a new sort of challenge due to adapting to a new normal. Luckily, I had a great support system within my family. Without them, I would not have been able to make my transition to be as smooth as it was.
Do you have advice for those transitioning out of the military?
If you do not have a support system in place for when you transition, contact your local Veteran Support Organization for information regarding resources available to you. Find a community that understands you and your experiences. If you cannot, strive to create one to help others in the same position as you. In doing so, you may find your own sense of community once again.
If you hadn’t gone into the service, what do you imagine your career life would have been? Did you explore a different career after service?
My career life would not have included higher education. The military provided me an opportunity to pursue my dreams of becoming a doctor of medicine without going into a pit of student debt.