ROSE BARRACKS, Germany - "I believe in what we are doing, in what the 2d Cavalry Regiment is doing. I am actually really proud to work with our NATO Allies," exclaimed Staff Sgt. Nathan Joachim, his second day since arriving at Bemowo Piskie Training Area in Orzysz, Poland, March 31, 2017.

As a Soldier assigned to Ghost Troop, 2d Squadron, 2CR, he will be part of Battle Group Poland during a six-month, April through September, rotation supporting NATO's enhanced Forward Presence. This first rotation in Orzysz for eFP will include Poland, Romania, United Kingdom and United States Soldiers who are all a part of an Alliance who are in a forward deployed defense and deterrence posture in Eastern Europe to protect and reassure NATO's Eastern member states of their security.

It took Joachim a few years to get where he is now. Becoming a Soldier was a big step for him. A leap of fate.

"I always wanted to join (the military), I was just scared to jump out of my comfort zone."
That was his sentiment back in 2008 when he was caught with the life decisions all young people are faced with leaving high school.

After the graduation ceremony, where do you go from there? The handshakes and congratulations diminish as the sun fades over the horizon. You are an adult now. Jump from the nest and see where you land.

Joachim landed hard. When the reality of adulthood hit him square in the face a couple years later, he needed a change.

He was having a hard time keeping up with five college classes and two jobs. At 21, prospects looked dim when he was laid off from Walmart and his job at Hollywood Video came to an end with the advent of Netflix.

Joachim had a lot to think about, but it did not take him long to find the closest recruiting office.

"Losing my job was like the biggest sign of fate," he exclaimed. "It was like 'wake up, join the Army'."

The military is not prominent in the Joachim house hold in Katy, Texas. Outside of an uncle who worked in a combat support hospital during Vietnam, his grandfather who was a captain in the Air Force before he was born and with five younger siblings, he is the only one that joined.

Since elementary school Joachim has held anyone in the U.S. military in high esteem. As a sophomore he thought about becoming a Marine, but of course he changed his mind and became a Soldier.

"I have always looked up to those people and joining has been one of the best choices of my life because I always wanted to make a difference somehow in my life," he said.

In March of 2010, he found himself on Sand Hill as a clean-shaven infantryman recruit. He completed both basic and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Ga. and was shipped off to his first duty station at Fort Campbell, Ky.

The new infantryman was proud to get his start in Dealer Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team; a unit whose storied Red Currahee's fought in World War II and earned the reputation as a tactically proficient infantry unit.

Joachim soon deployed to a combat zone himself in Regional Command East, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"We looked for bomb makers and for bad people," Joachim explained. "But, we also got to help out the villagers. That was the cool part. We had 10 medics with us and we got to give medicine to sick people. That is something I have always wanted to do; to make a difference."

In February 2016, Joachim became a member of another storied unit; the 2d Cavalry Regiment, who can trace their lineage, back to 1836. He has continued to make a difference, now in Europe.

The past year he participated in several multinational and bilateral training exercises within Eastern Europe countries, his involvement in these events will help him during this eFP mission as a Soldier and a leader.

"I am going to use everything I have learned, my experiences and training to be the most useful asset I can to the unit," said Joachim, who recently received a promotion to staff sergeant.

Joachim traveled in the weeklong tactical road march in a Stryker Combat Vehicle to Bemowo Piskie Training Area. Along the way, his Troop was selected to set up their vehicles during static displays in Weissenfels, Germany and Wesola, Poland. An experience he will never forget.

"It is a welcoming experience," he said. "I like people. I like to see the good in people and that static display was very refreshing. A lot of people respect you; every single one of them was happy for us to be there."

During the event in Wesola, he was presented a book made by local school children. The book, made of construction paper is filled with pictures and well wishes.

"That was a humongous morale booster when they made us that book and they presented it to me," he said.

The book will be taken back to the 2d Squadron headquarters to be placed with other mementos and historical items they have collected through the years.

Joachim says he has had a great time in the Army so far and has no intention of getting out.

"I believe in what I do. This is definitely going to be a career," he concluded.