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What's the Mission?




It was a late afternoon at Sherwin Williams, probably around 1500 hours, I was in the back warehouse stocking gallon paint cans when my phone rang. I answered the unknown number expecting a bill collector of some sort but was surprised when the voice on the line said he was a recruiter for the Navy and he was looking for me.


At this point in my life I was just going through the motions. I had been through a break up that left me cold and emotionally distant, I was going to a community college part time, and I was working part time at a paint store with no promotion in sight. My friend at the time had also gone through a break up and as all young men tend to do after an event like that, he asks me to go with him to the recruiter office. I had no intentions of joining the military but I did want to help my friend so we went on my lunch break.

Initially we wanted to speak with an Airforce recruiter but, as I later found out, they are never available. So as we are walking away, the Navy recruiter asks if we were trying the Airforce then laughed when we told him they weren't there. He asked us to come talk to him and invited us inside. We talked for a bit and eventually we both took the ASVAB. I still had no intentions of ever joining the military and felt I was wasting my time and losing money because I could have worked through lunch. After we finished the tests we took some literature and thanked the recruiter for his time and went out the doors.


A couple of days go by and that's when I get the phone call. Apparently I scored decent on the ASVAB and the recruiter wanted to call and see if he could persuade me to reconsider and join the NAVY. He told me it wasn't really all that bad and he had a special opportunity available which wasn't "big Navy" but something different, it was called "FTS" which stood for full time support and was different than being in the regular navy.


I told him to give me a minute, I put the phone down and took stock of my life in it's current state. I lived in a single wide trailer, had no wife or kids, part time college for a degree I didn't care about, part time job I was unable to move up in, and I had no direction or purpose. I was a flag in the wind, I picked up the phone and told the recruiter " I'm in, what do you need from me".


I had no direction or purpose. I was a flag in the wind, I picked up the phone and told the recruiter " I'm in, what do you need from me".

I went after work to meet with the recruiter and got the ball rolling to join. I left the recruitment office and went home, I walked in the door and told my brother, my mother, and stepfather that I had signed up to join the Navy and that I would be leaving in 3 months. My mother asked if I was serious and I told her I was, I had just agreed the previous day and met with the recruiter so I would be leaving. I told them bye and left to go to work. I'm not much for "big moments", I'm not cold, I just don't like making big deals out of regular things.

After I clocked in for work, I told my manager that yesterday I had signed up with the Navy and I would be leaving in 3 months. He was not amused, I assured him I was leaving for sure and I was leaving this whole town in my rearview.


I had no guidance and no direction in my life at that time and I am grateful for the military because that organization gave me all the direction and guidance I could ever want. Men need a mission in life, something to work towards, they need goals, they need to build, they need to fight. Know what your mission is, write it down and get after it. Don't be a flag in the wind being carried by any breeze that comes by without any control over what you do.


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