This article was inspired by Κυριάκος.
He asked "Where are you, and how did you get there", so I figured I would take five minutes and write a very quick summary of my recent history.
I am currently a professional engineer in Oregon. What feels like many years ago, I was a college student working on a Master's degree while completing ROTC. I had met my wife in one of my engineering classes the previous year and we got married during our Master's year. Finished up the degree and we headed off to Army officer basic at Ft Leonard Wood Missouri.
After a little over four months of training, it was off to Ft Carson, Colorado. I was a platoon leader for a couple years, went to sapper school where I got to learn some really interesting engineer skills and demonstrate my leadership abilities. Shortly thereafter they announced we would be headed to Iraq. This announcement came about the same time as my wife announced she was pregnant.
Off I went to Iraq in support of the first wave of soldiers. My primary mission was to eliminate as much explosive material as possible. I never knew how much military stuff Iraq had until we began collecting it to get rid of it. They have so much explosive stuff all over the country.
Partway through the deployment, my wife's mother passed away. A couple months after that, I got a Red Cross message informing me I had a little daughter awaiting my return.
Early on in the deployment, I became a company executive officer. Near the end, the gave me a company command. It was at this time that I gained the title “Joeiraqi.”
As part of our overall mission to win the hearts and minds of the people, we associated quite frequently with the locals. At one of the meetings, one of the local leaders approached me and said “CPT, you seem to be a good GI Joe, but you seem to also have the desires of the Iraqi people in your heart. In fact, you seem almost to be an Iraqi. You are an Iraqi Joe. Maybe we should just call you Joe the Iraqi.” And Joeiraqi was born.
Shortly after Iraq, they decided I needed to go to a whole bunch of training I had missed while in Iraq. However, I had more than fulfilled the time requirements for service and could choose to remain with the Army or to leave. After a lot of discussion with military leaders, I was told that I was a valuable asset to the Army because I was a living breathing individual (aka a piece of property useful as a placeholder; but they said it more politically). Additionally, I wanted to get my professional engineering license. They said they would buy me one, how much did it cost. After laughing, I explained the requirements and they said they couldn't help me get it, but why did I want it since I would never need it in the Army due to the level of world conflict and likelihood that I would just be deployed all the time. This resulted in my wife and I deciding to leave the Army.
Now I am employed as a professional engineer (with license) in Oregon. I enjoy my job and have been around for the birth of my other children and have been able to enjoy time with them.