November 17th, 2009

Portrait of a Patriot: My Cousin Tyler Davin

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Written by: Our Army Life


1. Why do you fight?

I fight for one reason: To serve this great nation and pay back my personal debt to those before me. I have tremendous respect for those that came before me in a long history of service. Less than one percent of United States Citizens serve their country and I feel that it is every capable person’s responsibility to stand up and volunteer to stand up and protect this great nation’s freedom and safety. I heard on a Des Moines radio talk show that this country is so disgusted that one percent of this country owns ninety-five percent of the wealth, however nobody seems to care that less than one percent serve in the Armed Forces-it seems to me that this country has misplaced emphasis on where we place our values.

2. How has military service changed your perspective on life?

I was 20 years old when I joined the National Guard. Before my service I was floundering in college courses and floundering in direction in life. Although I struggled to get through high school with good grades, I found myself wondering why I struggled so badly. It wasn’t the lack of intelligence-it was the lack of drive and personal willpower to succeed and show myself foremost, but also to show my parents and peers that I had what it takes to be successful in life. I had longer hair and had placed more importance on taking part in partying and essentially was a dead beat when it came to taking part in my social responsibilities as a member of this great country. While most of my friends feel that we should stay out of other countries and keep to our own responsibilities, I saw a need to get involved in what I thought was right and not right.

“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

Who stands up for the meek? Who stands up for freedom? Who stands up for the safety of others when they cannot stand for themselves? These are the things that I think about when it comes to fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. This world is far bigger than most Americans can fathom. During my passing through the airport on my way home from Iraq, I saw a woman in a full length fur coat telling somebody on the other end of her Bluetooth (which I had no idea what that was at the time) that she could not wait to get to Aspen, Colorado and drink a glass of wine because her life had been so hard and stressful-and I thought about where I had just come from where children run the streets of a war ravaged country like stray dogs without parents. I found that somewhat humorous but also pathetic.

3. Are you afraid of dying for your country? Why or why not?

I think everybody is apprehensive about dying in general on some level, but I could think of few better reasons to sacrifice my life than doing so for my country or in the defense of others.

4. What is your Army occupation? If you weren’t in the Army, what would you be doing instead?

I came into the Army as a Combat Medic however the title of that job has since been changed to “healthcare specialist.” I think that the title combat medic is more fitting because we medics do our job saving others affected by combat in that very atmosphere. I am very proud of my service and feel that it had nothing but a positive affect on my life, and have since become a recruiter. While my job is just that-to recruit, I also consider myself somewhat of a guidance counselor to people just like myself who are in the same situation I was. I have now been locked into a career that I can be proud of and a career that does more than just push paperwork and get things done. I help people in positive ways and set people up for success. Being a recruiter does not mean putting somebody in boots and saying goodbye and good luck. My influence and spectrum of help carries on further than just the oath of enlistment. I am somebody that people will always remember in their quest of this adventure to serve. I was the key to helping them achieve what they hope to achieve by joining a relatively short list of volunteers in this nations formation. If it weren’t for the service, I don’t know where I would be today but my level of personal success and feeling of self achievement would be far lower.

5. Who’s holding down the home-front while you’re away? Who’s at home waiting for you?

Every night I have the privilege of coming home to my rock to lean on. I have a lovely woman that supports me regardless of where my service takes me and although that can be taxing and stressful on a relationship, if the relationship is built on the firm ground you need to be happy and confident, there is no greater confidence than knowing what you have at home is what truly keeps you capable of performing in an environment like this. Sacrifice is not only made on the behalf of the soldier wearing the flag on their right shoulder, but also those who support that soldier.

About the Author

Our Army Life
My name is Gabe Haugland, and I’m an Iowa National Guard Infantry officer. I’m also an attorney, father, husband, brother and son. The Iowa National Guard has been notified that we will deploy to Afghanistan this year. This will be our first deployment as a family, and I intend to use this blog to keep our family and friends informed as we train-up for the deployment and finally make our way “in country”. We hope to capture the joys and challenges of “Our Army Life” and do our part to bring attention to the sacrifice that Army families make.

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