This year, several units took part in a 2.2 mile run to honor the U.S. Army’s 240th Birthday at Fort Eustis, Virginia, June 11, 2015.
For some this was simply a way to celebrate the Amy’s legacy, but for others like newly enlisted U.S. Army Pfc. Michael King, it was a time to think about motivation for joining the ranks. For King, even before the race started he knew his reason for joining would fuel him through the race.
“I will likely start the run, remembering why I was out there, the [Army] birthday, but what will push me through the entirety of it, is my son, the one who is my motivation for everything,” said King.
King, a McDonald Army Health Center Medical Material logistics technician, who has only been in the Army for a little over a year, joined the ranks after witnessing different sections of his civilian job lay people off. As this concerned him, he started to think about what would happen if he was laid off.
King realized that he didn’t know what he would do, and knew that uncertainty in job security wasn’t fair to his son, so he looked into an option he never considered before.
“I always said I would never join the military, it was just never in my plans” said King. “There was a time in my life, where I would say I was very much, less patriotic. But, things change, and I want to always make sure my son is comfortable.”
King especially didn’t look to join the Army first, but it was the only branch that could get him a job right away. King’s opinion changed as he made his way through boot camp and Advanced Individual Training. He started to learn what it meant to be a Soldier and gained a sense of pride for the uniform he wears.
“Now I love to put this flag on every morning,” said King as he pointed to the Velcro U.S. flag on his uniform. “Every day I try and be the model Soldier they made us in to.” To his son, King is more than a Soldier, he is his “super hero.”
“When I video chat with my son, he is always telling me that I look like his action figures,” said King. “I am often still in my uniform when I talk to him. It makes me happy to know he sees me that way. I want him to always see me that way because it helps motivate me to continue to be a great Soldier that is here to help defend my country.”
Having been in the service about a year, King is unsure of what the future holds, but in the present, he is proud to be a Soldier running in celebration of the Army’s birthday, another reminder of why he joined.