On September 11, 2001, I was young man attending the University of Arizona. I was in a fraternity, attending classes, and was even one tryout away from becoming the school mascot, Wilbur the Wildcat; all of this important stuff to a twenty-one year old kid.Truth be told, I was punching my ticket, one boring semester at a time until I had the opportunity to follow my heart, which was in Coronado, CA - home of the most deadly special ops forces on earth, the Navy SEAL's. Where the water is cold, boys became men and excuses are NOT tolerated. My family was encouraging me to get a college degree before joining the military.
On September 11, 2001, I became a man. There were no physical or chemical changes. The change was mental. I was no longer a young man struggling with the direction and course of my life, I now had a very clear purpose, a mission. I always wanted to serve in Special Operation. As a matter-of-fact, I had just finished a Ranger Challenge workout that morning and heard about the attacks on the radio during the drive home. When I arrived home, I woke all of my fraternity brothers and watched the chaos unfold as a total of four airliners were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and because of some heroic passengers, a lonely field in the Pennsylvania countryside.
After the terrorist attacks on American soil, I was consumed with anger for the cowardly way we were attacked I was so overcome by a sense of duty, that I enlisted in the Navy to become a Navy SEAL. Let’s be honest, when you carry out a successful attack on enemy combatants in a time of war; that is heroic. Crashing an airliner into a skyscraper full of innocent men, women and children isn’t warfare, its just plain evil. I wanted to take the fight to the enemy and hit them so hard, they would never consider attacking us at home again.I wanted to avenge the deaths of 2,977 innocent people, women, children, husbands, wives, sons and daughters that were killed.
I went on to become a Navy SEAL and was able to take the fight to the enemy. I completed five deployments, including three combat tours to Iraq. I served with men like myself, common men with the uncommon desire to succeed. I became part of a team, a brotherhood, which is extremely rare. That brotherhood that puts your teammates above yourself, teaches accountability and brutal self-awareness.I learned to become a leader, because they demand leadership at every level. And to never compromise the standard, because the people back home were counting on my teammates and I to serve with integrity.
I transitioned out of the military in October 2014, to work on Bottle Breacher full time. This does not mean that I don’t continue to serve. Bottle Breacher employs veterans and we support local and national charities that support veterans, active duty personnel, police, firefighters and first responders. What I remember most about September 11, 2001 is that is the day I made the choice to take action and to devote my life to serving the greatest country on earth.
Never Forgotten. Always Remembered.