From the left: My brother, Matt, me, and my youngest brother, Sam. Yes, my parents are fond of one syllable names: Jess, Matt, Sam (well, all of our full names are longer, but we never go by those). Photo was taken at my brother Matt's 27th b-day party in December '06.
Today, my youngest brother, Sam, leaves for the Army. And even though I'm not there to officially send him off, I figured I could do a little something here.
He's been talking about joining the Army for years, but has been serious about it for at least a year. For the past two years, while he's been finishing up his last two years of high school, he's also been enrolled in college courses at the University of Minnesota, so when he graduated from high school in May, he also had finished 2 full years of college. We were all hopeful that he would return to college this fall to complete his degree, but I guess he's ready for a little less book time and a little more action.
Last week, he spoke with a recruiter and took the Army's physical and intelligence tests. He scored so high on the intelligence test that the recruiter promised him any job he wanted; he wanted a position as an intelligence analyst, so they gave it to him. Thus, he departs from my parents' home in MN today for 9 weeks of basic training in Missouri; after that, he goes to Arizona for 21 weeks of intelligence training.
His position and the length of his training relieves me (somewhat) about his decision to join the military at this juncture, but I would be lying if I said I weren't anxious for his safety. I think it's a brave decision to join the military in a time of war, and I also know that his military service, the college experience he already has, and his future college experience (he does want to return after his 4 year committment -- or so he says now) will all enable him to be a valuable member of the future workforce; however, he's my baby brother and there's a war. I can't help but be scared for him.
But this is what he wants, and I support his decision and wish him the best of luck. He's so smart and so capable, so I know he'll excell in his training and in his field; he'll be invaluable to the Army, I'm sure of it. They're lucky to have him.