Thursday, March 30, 2006
In the Sandbox...
Inspired by Soldiers He Met as a Flight Attendant, 40-year-old Joined the Ranks
BY BILL HESS, Sierra Vista Herald
"While many 40-year-old soldiers are looking to end a 20-year career in the Army, Brian Esip is just starting his.
Some call him the old man, grandpa and other endearing elderly terms because many of them are young enough to be his kids.
“Most of the soldiers my age are closer to retirement. It’s a paradox. I’m just beginning my Army career,” Esip said Tuesday.
He took advantage of the increase in the age limit for people to enlist. The age limit was changed to 39 in the Reserves in March 2005, and President George W. Bush’s signature on the National Defense Authorization Act in January of this year elevating the same age for active duty provided the avenue for Esip to start his march as an Army Reservist.
The specialist is assigned to Company A, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, where he is training to become an imagery analyst.
Esip knows that although he is a Reservist he may well be called to head to the “box” — Iraq, Afghanistan or some other potential soldiering hot spots...When he considered entering the Army, he didn’t have much time, since his 40th birthday was fast-approaching.
During his job as a flight attendant prior to the terrorist attacks, he met military members who fought in the first war with Iraq.
One time he met parents who were flying to Frankfurt, Germany. Their son had been killed in Desert Storm.
The dignity of the parents going to bring their son’s body home stuck with him.
After Sept. 11, military members who had fought in Afghanistan and Iraq were passengers, and talking with them he gained a respect for their sacrifices.
“This is the best country in the world,” Esip said, “I want to do something.”
When Army recruiting went into a slump and the age limited raised for enlistments, he said there was an opportunity available that he could not ignore... (Read the Rest of the Story)
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six