No matter how much time you spend in the U.S. armed forces, the impulse to serve never fully goes away. Service members often find new ways to serve their communities after they separate, from volunteer work to running for office, but many embody the spirit of service when the most extreme circumstances call them to action. Often, those who answer the call aren’t just good Samaritans — they’re total badasses who run toward danger and never look back.
Say you’re at a dinner party. Sitting next to you is a petrochemical engineer. When you ask what she does for her day-to-day job, she overwhelms you with names of substances you haven’t heard since high school chemistry, uses cryptic acronyms, and drones on and on. After about a minute, you’ve tuned her out and you’re thinking about dessert.
So the time has come where your disillusionment for continued military service trumps your misguided teenage visions of honor, conquest, and becoming the next Maverick. The idea of standing watch on the U.S -Mexican border or engaging in Byzantine nation building offers no appeal. You’ve made up your mind. It’s time to get out.
Before newly minted Marines even reach the fleet, they spend months being inundated with knowledge and transformed from soft civilians to napalm-pissing, high-and-tight-rocking warfighters, ready to shove their combat boot up the ass of America’s enemies. (At least, that’s how they see themselves on leave. Everyone else just sees a dumb boot.)
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Chris Agron never deployed to a war zone during his stint in the Army. After four years in South Korea and a year with the 5th Ranger Training Battalion at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 24-year-old combat medic specialist separated in 2017 to take up a “really sweet gig” as a youth minister at a parish in Antelope, California. “My contract literally just ended this August,” Agron told Task & Purpose. “I never saw combat.”