OTF Soldier Story for March 9, 2009 - Sgt. Heyz Seeker
Current Unit: C Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Current Position: Senior Anti-tank Gunner
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Savannah, Ga.
Hometown: Grover Beach, Calif.
Years of Service: 5
For Sgt. Heyz Seeker, his Filipino heritage is not only about where he comes from. It is also a source of pride and direction that motivates and guides him as he moves forward in his career with the Army. Sgt. Seeker's father and stepfather both fought in the United States' Pacific campaigns during World War II, and it was this family precedent that motivated him to join the Army. He has since become the first Soldier in his family to become a Ranger and hopes the firsts don't stop there. He has ambitions to become the first Filipino Sergeant Major of the Army.
Because Sgt. Seeker's father passed away when he was only two years old, he remembers learning about him through stories told by family members. One of Sgt. Seeker's most cherished shared memories is the story about his father's return to the Philippines during World War II. The moment was significant for the family, because Sgt. Seeker's father was part of the U.S. military operation that liberated his native country. With this and other stories of his father's service in mind, Sgt. Seeker joined the Army wanting to make his father proud and carry on the family legacy.
Although he initially hoped to go to West Point, Sgt. Seeker spent three years at University of Colorado-Boulder on a ROTC scholarship. Ultimately though, Sgt. Seeker joined the Army as an enlisted Soldier in 1991. He served four years on Active Duty at Fort Richardson, Alaska as a forward observer artilleryman and then spent another three years with the Nevada National Guard as an armored crewman.
In 1998, his career path took a somewhat unusual turn, when Sgt. Seeker left the service to pursue his interest in culinary arts and became a sushi chef apprentice in San Diego. He was and still is passionate about food and cooking, but following the events of 9/11 felt a pull again to serve his country and reenlisted.
Since reenlisting, he joined the 75th Ranger Regiment to become an Army Ranger and completed five tours of duty in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, most recently returning from a deployment in the fall of 2008. Throughout his 11 years of service, but particularly during this most recent segment of his Army career, Sgt. Seeker has honed his leadership skills. As an NCO, he feels that his responsibly is to mold younger Soldiers and mentor them to the best of his ability so that one day they too can lead other troops.
Sgt. Seeker has found that his experience in theater has made him a more knowledgeable leader and that multiple deployments have increased his confidence levels. It has not gotten any easier, however, to leave his family, he says. As a husband and father of three, he hopes that one day his children will follow in his footsteps to serve. Although he is quick to point out that he wouldn't force them to enlist, he says he hopes they realize their duty to serve from the example he set for them, much like the legacy of his own father left for him.