I was born in Wichita Falls Texas, in 1984 on Shepard Air force Base. Though my parents both left the Air force after their first enlistments, their service would end up as one of the building blocks in my future. I lived in Texas for 5 yrs. As a family we moved to Lakeland Florida, where I spent the majority of my childhood years. Florida was hot and miserable, but we could always go fishing minutes from where I lived, considering we lived on top of the aquifer my entire town was built around sink -holes. I also regularly visited the limestone caves and natural springs. After 12 years in Florida my family moved to Oshkosh Wisconsin were I attended High School. I spent the rest of high school in Wisconsin before I joined the Marine Corps in 2003.
Out of high school I was recruited to play for football for a few of the University of Wisconsin Schools, including the Badgers. I also was offered a full scholarship for the Army ROTC program, with the intentions of becoming a Chaplin, which was my interest at the time.
Instead, I enlisted in the Marine Corps Infantry. I definitely chose the path of most resistance. My Marine Corps career included 2 deployments to Iraq as a Machine Gunner, where I was wounded in Fallujah in 2004 during Operation Phantom Fury. My wounds were minimal compared to many. After my 2 deployments I re-enlisted to train reservists in Southern California.
I married my wife (from Utah) in 2009, got out of the Marine Corps in 2010 and we headed back to Utah hoping to make a home for our family (she was pregnant at the time). As I made the transfer from military life to civilian life, I knew the best thing for my family was to humble my-self and revisit the idea of a college education as I had considered 7 years before.
As a leader in the Marine Corps I took pride in my ability to contribute to the overall well being of my troops. I have found a parallel atmosphere in the mining community. The professors and students function as a team. While the atmosphere is competitive, we are all there for each other.
P.S Patrick did not mention that he received a Purple Heart while serving in Iraq.