Military success

To the Editor:

As we near Veterans’ Day, I wanted to share some thoughts on serving in the military.

I began my Army career as a collection of averages. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota. I had an undistinguished academic and sports record in high school, and my physical size and fitness made me look more like a baker than a soldier. I really did not know what I wanted to do after college. What changed my future was the U.S. Army.

It was not until I became a Special Forces (Green Beret) officer that things began to come together for me. I underwent a challenging selection and training process that sees the vast, vast majority of applicants quit due to the hardship and endurance required to succeed. My assignments took me from backcountry skiing in Colorado to peace enforcement in Bosnia and combat operations in Iraq. My assignments taught me to appreciate people, foreign cultures and how vital it was that the U.S. succeeds in the world.

I was able to retire a few years ago after some additional service in the National Guard and Army Reserve.

When you enter military service, you believe that wars are won by military equipment and gear – tanks that can destroy a target almost two miles away, helicopters that fly through any weather condition, or sniper rifles that can be accurate over one mile. I quickly learned that without great soldiers, weapons and all that great technology mean nothing.

During one of my command positions in Special Forces, I lead a logistics company focused on providing all the supplies, communication, transportation and other support that Special Forces A Teams needed to have to be successful. My company headquarters element was a picture of the U.S. Our backgrounds were as varied as the next and nothing in our past pointed to our success in the future. The difference for all of us was that the Army brought us together, trained us and allowed us to be a great team.

The Army valued us based on our performance, not on our past.

Today, I am infinitely better as a businessman, husband, father and citizen due to my service in the U.S. Army. I have a job I love, a wife I love even more and children who amaze me with their intelligence, warmth and generosity. The lessons of military service come at a very high cost. I have several good friends who died in Iraq.

Military service did a lot for me, and I am forever grateful to the United States for allowing me to serve.

Chad Storlie

Omaha, NE

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