A ten-year airborne veteran, today’s #YOUAREGOVX member served in the pre-9/11 military. From joint task force exercises to taking flight in a rickety old WWII bird, Dante served with distinction and offers words of advice to anyone interested in a military career.
Enlistment to discharge.
I served ten years in the Army, and enlisted in January 1991, as an airborne infantryman. I was a 20-year-old kid who didn’t know what to do with his life. Joining the military was the catharsis I needed to get my ass in gear. I was assigned to: HHC 75th Rgr Regiment, Ft. Benning, GA; A Co. 1/508th, Airborne, Ft. Kobbe, Panama; B Co. 3/187th Rakkasan Brigade, Ft. Campbell, KY. After my enlistment was up, I returned to finish college. Much to many people’s surprise, I graduated and commissioned right back into the Army as a Medical Service Corps Officer. They assigned me to the battalion staff of the 31st Combat Support Hospital in Fort Bliss, TX. This was my last duty station. In 2001, my wife (also a soldier) and I made the hard decision to get out of the military to start a family.
I was a 20-year-old kid who didn’t know what to do with his life. Joining the military was the catharsis I needed to get my ass in gear.
As a pre-9/11 soldier, most of my deployments were primarily training exercises. The most memorable was when our unit in Panama selected a few of us for joint task force missions with the other branches of service—as well as DOD augments. Sometimes these also involved other South American military forces for drug interdictions and things like that. My absolutely favorite experience was when a group of us were sent to Honduras as part of an international military exchange exercise. Their airborne school was surreal. We were flying in some kind of WWII plane, I’m not sure what it was. But I really did not think we were coming back alive from that flight.
Any advice for anyone interested in joining the military?
You only live once. Make it worthwhile and memorable. You definitely won’t regret the experiences, or the people you will meet, and the friends you will make. And when you eventually get out, you will like the person you become on the other end.
I have two fraternal twin children, a son and a daughter. My wife and I love taking them outdoors. We live in the Texas hill country, so we don’t really have to go far to enjoy camping, hiking, and fishing. I own a Harley, and I love to ride when I can. I’m also currently training for a triathlon, and I aspire to earning the coveted M-Dot.