Experiencing situations that are uncertain, ambiguous, physically and mentally demanding, while coming together as a team – being able to endure and share a hardship like that – I have always found exciting, said Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Walrath, U.S. Army South commanding general at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston on June 22. “That team built on trust, without hesitation, is an experience that you can’t find in any other profession.”
Since the fourth grade, Walrath, a Pensacola, Fla. native, wanted to serve his country in the U.S. Navy as others in his family had done, but when he stepped into the Naval Recruiting Station, he was unsure what his future might hold. He soon found he was unable to pursue what he thought would be the best fit for him. He then met with a guidance counselor who encouraged him to talk to an Army recruiter.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Walrath. “I ended up spending 43 days on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier after I had been in the Army for about seven years; I saw upfront what Navy life was like and it was clear to me that I was happier in the Army. Sometimes things happen for a reason even though I may not have understood it at the time.”
In May of 1988, it was finally graduation day at West Point, Walrath was now a commissioned U.S. Army infantry officer.
Walrath has since participated in multiple deployments and operations. He credits the team of Soldiers and the relationships that he has built for why he continues to serve.
“It’s the people, it’s the Soldiers, and the chance to serve with what I consider to be the best of America – fighting men and women,” said Walrath. “A chance to be a part of this team that works together, regardless of circumstance, to serve a purpose bigger than ourselves. Every organization that I have been in; people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, race all come together. That’s what I appreciate.”
On a deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, Walrath was serving as commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division “Strike” Brigade when he was injured during a suicide bomber attack on his unit. His fellow Soldiers were able to get him to safety. He said he was proud of the unit and enjoyed watching how his Soldiers were able to continue accomplishing the mission during his recovery.
Walrath acknowledged the Army for opportunities to challenge Soldiers. He said it is through challenging experiences that Soldiers gain confidence and perseverance to be part of the best trained, best equipped and most talented force in the world.
Walrath discussed the many benefits of joining the Army; the excitement, the opportunity to serve, and the opportunity to lead.
“If teamwork and challenging yourself is something of interest to you, join the team,” Walrath said.
During Army National Hiring Days, the Army is showcasing its 150 full-time and part-time career options, training, benefits, and education to inspire individuals to consider military service. Those interested can learn more at goarmy.com/hiringdays.