JACKSONVILLE, FL -- When Andre Lavor Postell travelled to Jacksonville, FL, on Monday, the fourth day of February, he was preparing to make a paradigm shift in his life. On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at approx. 11:05 a.m., in a ceremony room filled with 30 Army recruits' parents, friends and relatives, Spc. Postell raised his right hand and took the Armed Forces Oath of Enlistment. Administered by Air Force MAJ Lawrence Harris, Operations Officer, Jacksonville Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), Spc. Postell was in the second phase of his transition from civilian to Soldier. By 11:30 a.m., Postell's contract was digitally signed. By the end of the day he was on his way to Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC, where he would officially trade his professional basketball player uniform for the uniform of a U.S. Army Soldier--for the next three years.

Six months ago, Postell had it made academically and professionally. But he was still searching for his next big thing--the thing that would broaden his opportunities and expand his vocational resume. Fortunately, when Postell walked into the Army's Albany, GA, Recruiting Center, he discovered the U.S. Army was there to help him find his next big thing and so much more. What he found was an opportunity to pursue his passion--working on diesel engines, as well as the chance to enhance his vocational skill sets, add to his personal accomplishments, and perhaps, share his life experiences as a leader with younger Soldiers. Postell's fortuitous meeting with Staff Sgt. Marvin Samuels at the Albany recruiting center, was also just in time. Convinced that the Army was the right service for him, Postell enlisted November 28, 2012, making the Army's cutoff for qualified recruits to enlist who hadn't reached their 35th birthday. Postell turns 35 on February 26.

But, why would a world traveler, scholar athlete, NBA/ABA professional want to become a U.S. Soldier? Postell said it is all about opportunity.

"I started thinking about changing my career about six months ago," said Postell. Don't get me wrong. I love the league. It's been good to me but I also had another passion--fixing things. I like to take things apart to see how they work and put them together again. The Army was offering that opportunity. Choosing the Army was not a difficult decision to make. I did my research online, compared the different services, and the Army had more opportunities," he said.

What's more, Postell is looking forward to serving his country. He says the Army will open up so many more doors for him. With this type of attitude and enthusiasm about becoming a Soldier, Staff Sgt. Samuels had no problems keeping Postell motivated while he was a Future Soldier.

"Because of Spc. Postell's background and experience in organized, professional sports, he understands group dynamics, working together as a team, the decision making process and especially being prepared to take a leadership role," said Samuels.

Postell chose Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 91B: Wheel Vehicle Mechanic. According to USAREC 2011-12 Pocket Recruiter Guide, the 91B MOS comes under the Mechanical Maintenance Career Management Field (CMF). This field has 14 MOSes responsible for a wide spectrum of repair and maintenance ranging from Small Arms, construction equipment, utilities equipment (heating and AC), generators, tanks and chemical equipment. Soldiers in this field are an integral part of Army missions because they keep the Army rolling. After Postell completes his Advanced Training at Fort Lee, VA, and gets his hands dirty with vehicle repair at his first assignment, Postell said he intends to add computer repair to his resume.

Postell is a 1996 graduate of Westover High School, Albany, GA. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John's University, New York, where he was a Spanish language major. As a Shooting Guard he placed 15th on St. John's All-Time Scoring List. In 1999 and 2000, he received the Big East Conference Scholar Athlete Award, and was selected by the New York Knicks in the second round (39th) of the 2000 NBA draft, playing with the team from 2000-03. From 2003-04, he played (preseason) with the Utah Jazz, then moved to the Asheville Altitude, National Basketball Association Development League (NBA D-League), where he received Honorable Mention, Regular Season Champion and NBDL Champion recognition in 2004. In addition to the NBA, Postell played in the ABA, in Europe (Greece, Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic), the Dominican Republic and most recently with the Albany Shockwave. More about Spc. Lavor Postell is available at http://www.lavorpostell.com

Photos of Spc. Postell's enlistment are at https://www.facebook.com/ArmyRecruitingBnJacksonville