When I began my path to service at the Naval Academy more than ten years ago, war was a something we read about in textbooks and studied on theoretical battlefields. In an instant on September 11th, 2001, theory became a reality when we were thrust into action by the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. On that day, the class of 2002 took a leadership role in the Global War on Terrorism, and we have never looked back on our commitment to serve our country with courage and honor.
I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and less than a year after my initial training, the first Marine units were deploying to the second front of the Global War on Terror, Iraq. I had an opportunity to deploy to the region with the Third Marine Aircraft Wing out of MCAS Miramar in 2004. During that deployment I witnessed first-hand the dedication and resilience of our fighting forces. But fighting wars comes at a cost.
Since 2003 more than one million Americans have served in Iraq and nearly 4,500 have made the ultimate sacrifice. 3,200 service members have come home with physical injuries and countless others suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
Today, I applaud President Obama for keeping his promises to end the war in Iraq responsibly and stand by those who fought it. He has proven his commitment to service members and their families by demanding veterans’ health care benefits for our generation; one that has been engaged in battle for a decade. He has continued that commitment by encouraging America’s largest businesses to hire veterans and their spouses.
As a veteran myself, I am grateful for his unrelenting support and the continued dedication to service he shows for my brothers and sisters in arms.Semper Fi,
Captain, United States Marine Corps