For many Soldiers, deployments are part of the sacrifice they make for their country and loved ones. Others are willing to make additional sacrifices just to get the chance to deploy.
Cpl. Jason Williams is among the latter. A team leader for Battery D, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, Williams had to battle through physical setbacks and lots of paperwork after undergoing hip surgery to join his brothers-in-arms on their deployment from El Paso, Texas, to Bahrain. Even though he ended up joining the deployment a bit behind, Williams did not let it set him back.
"Even though he was a late deployer, Williams took over one of the main crews and consistently got perfect scores on all of his drills," said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Valadez, Williams' platoon sergeant. "He took over his entire section as a Specialist and has maintained a 98 percent readiness rate for the entire year."
Three years ago, Williams had no idea his future held maintaining arms and his fellow Soldiers. Growing up in a harsh environment in Florida, the Tampa Bay native knew he needed to get out of a bad situation and put his efforts toward something positive and productive.
Williams talked to an Army recruiter who presented him with two choices: a truck driver or a Patriot launching station enhanced operator/maintainer. Williams opted for not only the more difficult to pronounce job, but also the more challenging of the two options, and shipped out for training shortly thereafter.
"I wanted to do something that means something and that is hands-on," Williams said. "I love this job. If I can retire doing this I will."
Three years later he finds himself as a newly promoted corporal, who is looking forward to all opportunities the Army can offer.
Valadez fully supports all of Williams' goals, expressing full confidence in his abilities and potential.
"Williams is going to be a quality (noncommissioned officer)," said Valadez. "A great first sergeant if he decides to stay in."
Williams has no intention of stopping any time soon. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland. The 27-year-old recently extended his Army contract for four years and is going to Germany in the near future.
From there he hopes to return to the Air Defense Artillery schoolhouse, at Fort Bliss, Texas, where he was trained to give Soldiers the same quality of mentorship he received when he first attended training.
If any other opportunities arise, Williams said he will take them on and encourages others to always look to better themselves and those around them.
"Basic Leader Course, get promoted to sergeant, Germany, new adventures," Williams listed off his current goals. "It is important to keep climbing and to stay hungry."