BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Pfc. Isaac Ware is a 19-year-old communications soldier with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, now deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Ware, a native of Stockton, Calif., joined the Army right out of high school so that he would not make the mistakes that he saw some of his peers making.

"I had to grow up fast," said Ware. "Right out of high school I knew I couldn't stay a boy. I had to become a man."

Faced with living in a declining city with a high crime rate, he was concerned about his safety and his future.

"I did not want to get killed," said Ware. "Stockton went bankrupt, and the crime rate was worse than in Los Angeles."

Ware intended get out and make a life for himself.

"I needed a stepping stone," said Ware. "I knew the Army could point me in the right direction."

Staff Sgt. Stephen McDonald, the unit's server administrator has worked with Ware for about nine months.

"I've seen Ware start to make the transition to responsible adult," he said. "He's done a good job and he strives to be better than his peers. It's always 'what can I do next?' with him."

The transition to adulthood is never without its hiccups and Ware was no different.

"He's young, and he showed up to the unit and was scared, lost and homesick," said McDonald. "He wants to know more, not just about the job, but about being a mature adult."

The efforts of Ware's non-commissioned officers have made an impression on him for the better.

"Being at brigade has shown me what the real Army is like," said Ware. "I've been shown how non-commissioned officers should act. They've shown me what taking care of your soldiers really means and what it means to do meaningful work."

Being deployed to Afghanistan has been a positive experience for Ware.

"I actually like deployment," said Ware. "If I could stay here and bring my wife, I'd stay here. I get worked hard and my NCOs appreciate my work."

Even with everything going on here in Afghanistan, Ware often thinks of his peers that he left behind in Stockton.

"I wish some of the people back home knew what it's like to be in the military," said Ware.

Page last updated Fri October 12th, 2012 at 00:00