FORT KNOX, Ky. - Americans serve in the U.S. military for many reasons. This 1st Theater Sustainment Command Soldier’s family legacy of service is what inspired him to serve.
Spc. Michael Washington Jr., a unit supply specialist for the battalion S-4, Special Troops Battalion, 1st TSC, is the sixth person in his family to serve in the military and is proud of that lineage.
“I work to ensure property accountability at 1st TSC,” he explained. “I add property to the books and remove items off of the books, ensuring they are on the correct property receipts, and I also send out reports each month.”
Washington said that he comes from a family of givers, and he learned by example.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than one-half of one percent of the U.S. population currently serves on active duty in all military branches; and only about 7 percent of the entire population are Veterans.
Who serves? The Pew Institute states that 80 percent of young Veterans have at least one immediate family member who wore the uniform, making Washington’s family unique in that he is the sixth.
Washington has always been around the Army. Born at Fort Knox’s old Ireland Hospital in 2000, he grew up travelling with his father, who served as a tank mechanic in the Army during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm.
His father started his career at Fort Knox, then served assignments at Fort Stewart, Georgia, Germany, and finally back to Fort Knox, where he retired – making Radcliff, Kentucky, Washington’s hometown. He graduated from North Hardin Christian Academy.
He currently volunteers at his high school alma mater as an assistant basketball coach. He was an athlete in high school and remembers how he felt whenever the National Anthem played before games.
“To this day, I still get chills when I hear it,” he shared.
Washington said that his family set him up for success because he’s not afraid to meet new people.
“Moving around a lot as a kid gave me an outgoing personality,” he said. “I could see 10 kids playing together on a playground, and I would just go up and talk to them.”
However, it was his grandfather who started their legacy of service in the military serving in the Vietnam War.
“I’m proud to be following in my grandfather’s footsteps,” he said. “It gives me a great sense of pride serving in the Army.”
He remembers that his grandfather served as a first sergeant for a recruiting unit at State College in Pennsylvania near the end of his career.
Washington has three older sisters who also served in the military.
His sister Mercedes served one tour in the Army as an ammunition specialist. Another sister, Alexis, served as an automated logistics specialist with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Washington’s last sister, Shiann, is the sole family member who served in the U.S. Air Force. She went on to college to study to be a teacher.
This is Washington’s first duty assignment. He’s been with the 1st TSC since February 2019 and believes that he came back here for a reason.
“As soon as I got back, I plugged in to volunteer with my church,” he said. “I believe God called me back here to serve.” Both Washington and his wife, Makayla, volunteer at their church.
The couple, who is expecting their first child in August, also enjoy spending time outdoors and hiking.
“Our favorite place to hike is Toga Falls in Jefferson Forest,” he said.
Their love for outdoor activities is one thing that helped Washington decide to reenlist for an assignment in Alaska, which he hopes to do by the end of the month.
Washington’s leaders also commend his work ethic and duty to the community.
“Spc. Washington is an excellent Soldier who always values other people’s time,” said 2nd Lt. Dylan M. Mchugh, S-3 officer, 1st TSC.
“I know that he is very service-oriented and volunteers a lot in the community, and he’s a man with a very strong faith background,” Mchugh added.
Washington said that he gets his desire to help others from his father.
“If I see a person struggling, I will always stop to help,” he said.
“We have a sense of service for our community, not just our country.”