FORT HOOD— Serving in the military is hard. Hard on service members and hard on Families. During Veterans Day, these heroes who serve in the Profession of Arms are recognized for their service, and it’s something that should never be forgotten or taken for granted.
The United States has been at war for more than 19 years, and now has the largest population of young veterans since the Vietnam War.
Washington native, Sgt. Muirne Cooney, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, is in her early 20’s and has been in the Army for almost four years.
As Cooney approaches her expiration of term of service, she reflected on why she served.
“I joined initially for the college opportunities and I thought the Army could help me find a better life path,” Cooney said.
By the end of the year, Cooney will transition out of the military and move onto another chapter in her life as a veteran, and wondered if she fit the criteria.
“When I think of veterans, I don’t think of myself,” Cooney explained. “I think of people who have deployed or made other significant contributions that maybe I haven’t.”
Being a service member is something less than 1% of Americans choose to do, and Jackson, Mississippi native, 1st Sgt. Terrance Porter, HHC, 13th ESC, wholeheartedly disagreed with Cooney’s assessment.
“A veteran is someone who has worn the uniform and honorably served their country,” Porter said. “Regardless of if you deployed or not, or whether you ETS or retire. You made sacrifices the majority of Americans will never understand.”
Another younger Soldier, Lexington, South Carolina native, Spc. Tau Tufu III, HHC, 13th ESC has served for three years and also has an ETS coming up.
Serving in the military is something Tufu’s Family has done all their lives, and he was glad to add to their legacy.
“It gives me a great sense of pride being from a military Family,” Tufu said. “My dad, mom, grandparents, aunts and uncles have served. A lot are still serving today.”
As Tufu prepares to transition from the Army life, the time he spent in will always be memorable to him.
“I’ll miss the people more than anything,” Tufu said. “The people I have met along the way have made it fun and manageable. I have met a lot of great people.”
After joining after high school, Porter has been in the Army for 22 years, and is beginning preparations to retire in the next year or so.
“Once I retire, I’ll be a proud veteran,” Porter said. “Because I know I’ve given my all to the Soldiers and their Families, and that means the most to me.”
Porter, like all Soldiers, is a Soldier for life. Once he finally hangs up his uniform, he still plans on giving back.
“I’ve been doing this my whole adult life,” Porter said. “Whatever I do next, I still want to serve Soldiers in whatever aspect I can.”
On Veterans Day, people can never truly express for the contributions and sacrifices they have made throughout history, a sentiment summed up by the 33rd President of the U.S., Harry S. Truman.
“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid,” Truman said. “They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”