I had been up all night, working as the Battalion Staff Duty NCO, and by the time I finally turned in for some sleep, I was dog tired. Staff Duty has to be one of the most thankless duties anyone pulls in the Army, and I was just glad to have it over, get some sleep, and maybe enjoy a day off-duty. As things turned out, I didn’t get much sleep.
About 0900 hours, my battalion Sergeant Major was knocking on my door, telling me to get up, get my shit, and head to the rally point. I had no idea what was going on, but from where I was standing, half asleep and wearing only a pair of boxers, it looked like a giant Charlie Foxtrot. Little did I know that the world had just changed.
The events of September 11, 2001 changed a lot of lives in the space of just minutes, mine included. At twenty-three-years-old, I was the old man in my squad; I was surround by a bunch of teenagers fresh out of Basic Training and AIT – boys whose moms were counting on me and all of the other NCO’s to keep their babies safe.
I would come home from Afghanistan in June of 2002; my ETS date was up, I had been injured, and it looked like my days of storming the castle were over.
But today, I remember…