My desire to serve grew out of my childhood, being raised on a small farm and the oldest of seven children. I actively served the community while attaining the rank of Eagle in Boy Scouts. At a young age I also found satisfaction working in agriculture, running several small businesses to include baling hay and shoeing horses.
The course of my life, like so many others, was forever changed on September 11, 2001.
This event, to me, was the Pearl Harbor of my generation, and I would not stand idly by while my country was under attack. Within a year I had joined the Army, eventually earning my commission as a Second Lieutenant through ROTC at the University of Georgia. After graduating from the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course, Airborne School, and Ranger School at Fort Benning, I deployed to Afghanistan as a Platoon Leader in the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. I led my Platoon in combat operations in Margah, which was THE most attacked outpost in Afghanistan at that time. During the deployment, my friend and the Company Executive Officer (XO) was killed in another District, and I was selected by Company HQ to take his place. This deployment truly brought me face to face with the forces of evil in the world for the first time, and I personally observed how Islamic extremists would stop at nothing to advance their depraved ideology, even to the point of senselessly killing innocent children.
After returning to the states and graduating from the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course back at Fort Benning in 2010, I was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) at Fort Bragg. I graduated from the SFQC and was immediately assigned to 7th Special Forces Group. With 7th Group, I deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and Paraguay in 2013 as an Operational Detachment Alpha (or A-Team) Commander. During the Afghanistan combat deployment, I led my A-Team through a dangerous and seemingly impossible mission to open up a new District that had been under complete Taliban control for four years. I embedded my team with the Afghan security forces, and we ate, trained, and patrolled with the Afghans into the dangerous outlying areas, meeting with tribal elders and building a network of surrogates and supporters.
Every gunfight I fought side by side with the Afghans, putting myself in harm’s way and proving to them we were true partners.
This deployment taught me the value of building strong relationships and networks as the foundation for taking on an entrenched opponent.
I moved back to Fort Benning in early 2014 to serve as an MCCC Instructor at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) and later became the Course Director while earning my Master’s in Business Administration from UGA. In 2016 after 10 years of active duty service I was promoted to the rank of Major, transitioned to the Army Reserves, and began working in medical sales. I have put roots down in Columbus, becoming involved with a number of local organizations and growing a family with my wife, Stephanie. Over the last year, I have felt the desire to serve building inside me again. I am deeply concerned about the economic condition of Southwest Georgia. I have seen farmers be sold out, businesses shut their doors, and forces be reduced at Fort Benning.
I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies both foreign and domestic, and I cannot stand idly by once more when I see my community and country in need of experienced and moral leadership.