One Year Ago Today

Posted: August 28, 2011 in The Army

The delay for this long-overdue blog update can be attributed to the recent field exercise conducted peninsula-wide by the Army presence here in South Korea.  This training event left me restricted to post and sucked whatever creative juices you may believe I do or, probably more accurately, don’t possess right out of my unnecessarily large noggin.  In the month of August I have spent less time traveling and more time soldiering, with the former being the primary reason for this blog, and much more fun to write about, and the latter coming with certain disclosure restrictions I’d rather not tempt.

I did, however, wake up this morning (South Korea time, but I delayed publication to adhere to “home time”) realizing that August 27, 2011 meant only one thing, and no it’s not to celebrate the one-year mark of my first beer or my first facial hair.

One year ago today I made the difficult yet very rewarding decision to raise my right hand and swear in as the newest enlistee to the United States Army.  Of course the entire process started long before August 27, 2010 and I wouldn’t ship until long after that same day — November 17, 2010, to be exact — since anything involving the government takes time.  Nevertheless, that small ceremony at the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) in Gahanna, Ohio in front of a few fellow enlistees, the commanding officer, and God was the biggest and most official step, at the time, in what has become a life-changing journey.

This decision wasn’t without struggle as I was forced to weigh the pros and cons from every conceivable angle.  I also wanted the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the many close friends and family members whose input and support has been invaluable to me my entire life.  After all, I was a college graduate looking to pack a duffel bag and board a bus bound for the United States Army, a complete diversion from what I studied in school.

I sense a theme developing on this blog.

Joining the Army not only meant leaving these friends and family members, it also meant leaving a great job with a wonderful organization that I’ll continue to endorse for as long as I live, the YMCA of Greater Dayton.  A job that included a cast of characters who supported me unconditionally, many of whom remain some of my closest friends to this day.  Needless to say, it wasn’t a choice I made overnight or a decision I took lightly.  My only regret is that I didn’t host an hour-long prime time ESPN special announcing my selection to the chagrin of an entire city state (Zing!  That’s a freebie for my Cleveland fans out there!).

A lot of thought, reflection, and future planning lead up to the events that took place on August 27, 2010 and I can say, without reserve, that I made the right decision for me and my family.  Sometimes in life the best decision isn’t always the easiest decision to make and there are times you have to take a chance on an idea and watch it play out in real time, knowing along the way that the sacrifices will be worth it.

The road hasn’t always been easy.  There have been, and will continue to be, some difficult and long days, as is the case with any job.  But I can assure you there isn’t anything or anyone that could convince me to trade the experiences I have had or the relationships I have built over the course of the past year.

It has been a priceless, hands-on and in-the-moment learning experience like no other and it all began one year ago today.

“I, Matthew James Mowery, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  So help me God.” —The Oath of Enlistment, August 27, 2010

  1. Victoria Barros says:

    Hello, Matt! I, until I retired July 31, worked as an Admin Assistant to Sue Gunnell, Assistant Superintendent of Huber Heights City Schools, and was privileged to work with your lovely mother, Therese. As I read your blog tonight, I felt the pride your mom must feel when it comes to her son. I enjoy reading your Traveling Soldier very much and keep you in my prayers as you carry out your duties abroad. My husband was a Navy Seal and was so very proud to be a Veteran of this United States of America. Thank you for serving our Country and may God continue to keep you safe. I look forward to your next blog.

  2. Matt says:

    Thank you so very much for the kind thoughts and words of encouragement!!! Tell your husband that I appreciate his service and I have much respect for the Navy SEALs. I’m glad you enjoy the blog and I really appreciate the support!

    And I apologize in advance for any low-brow humor, please don’t hold it against my Mom! 🙂

    Thanks again!!!


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