LA PALMA, California - The Army’s senior air defender only planned to stay in the Army for five years.
Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler, commanding general of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, shared his thoughts on serving in the Army with more than 60 JROTC cadets at John F. Kennedy High School in La Palma, California, Oct. 20.
He told the group he planned to do something else after he completed a five-year service commitment following his West Point graduation, but the Army changed his mind.
“I found out in those five years that I really loved the camaraderie, the teamwork, the people I worked with, served with, worked for and who worked for me,” he said. “In the Army, you develop a unique bond you won’t find anywhere else.”
Karbler encouraged the cadets to take advantage of their time in JROTC to develop that type of bond, learn about others and themselves. He said the values and discipline they are learning now will serve them anywhere they go in life.
“Learn to be a good teammate,” he said. “Figure out how that works, how you work together as a team to meet a common objective. Figure that out now, because those are the skills that will help you; they’ll become foundational,” he said. “Apply those lessons all the way through life.”
He talked with the cadets about opportunities to serve. He told them the Army offered a variety of career fields like engineering, software development, aviation, medical, and even the possibility of becoming an astronaut.
“Less than one percent of Americans come into the military,” he said. “We need you. I need each and every one of you. And the beauty of the Army is that it has opportunities for anything you want to do.”
Don’t regret not taking advantage of available opportunities, Karbler said.
“The best advice I got when I was in high school – if you think you want to do it, then go do it. You don’t want to have regret,” Karbler said. “You will not be disappointed. Opportunities you can’t even imagine will be available to you.
“If I could rewind the tape and be sitting in your seats right now, I would do the exact same thing that I did,” Karbler said. “I would join the Army.”
For photos: U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC)’s albums | Flickr