Proudly Serving

By: Josiah Cook

15434 Votes

Proudly Serving - Josiah Cook

Arizona State University


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My story is not one of hard luck nor is it extremely inspirational. I was in combat but I was never a hero. I lived in the ghetto but I was not poor. My story is not one that can be turned into a Lifetime movie, but my experiences are interesting.

With a name like Josiah Moses Cook, it’s not hard for people to guess that my father was a preacher. He was not a godly man, but he wasn’t the devil either. He was already 30 years old when the Civil Rights movement began, so it’s easy to understand why he saw the world the way he did. Years of being harassed and treated as an unequal skewed his worldview and perception.

My mother is an immigrant who came to America at the age of 16 from her native country, El Salvador. She often tells me how she spent her first few years in America crying herself to sleep, depressed because she didn’t understand English and desperately missed her family who she had no way to contact. She is a hero. She came to America to support her family and she did just that. She taught herself English and learned it well. She worked as a live-in housekeeper and used her earnings to put herself through school. My mother lived the American Dream, she came from her home as a teenager with nothing and became an American Citizen. She worked her way from a housekeeper scrubbing toilets to a Nursing Assistant who helped people every day.

To one of my parents America was a dream and to the other, a nightmare. I grew up hanging around with the wrong people and doing the wrong things. Surrounded by these types of people it makes sense that I didn’t finish school. I went to High School for exactly 2 days and spent the next year doing nothing. It would have stayed that way if not for my mother. One day she came to me and told me again about how she came to America with no money, no education, and nowhere to go. How she spent her first night sleeping on the street without as much as a blanket to keep her warm. Once again she proved to be a hero saving her family, saving me from me.

Fast forward to today and I am an American Soldier proudly serving the country that has done so much for me and countless others. I have been a Soldier for 12 years now and will continue to be for as long as I am able. My combat experience includes a 16-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I currently serve at Fort Bragg as a Supply Sergeant and Paratrooper. My primary responsibility is to ensure my company has what it needs to accomplish its mission. My other responsibilities include coaching and mentoring other Soldiers. I always preach the importance of furthering education to other Soldiers and I’m proud to say that I am personally responsible for 6 enrolling in college over the years. I try my best to stay involved in the local community. I have completed many volunteer hours with Habitats for Humanity and the Salvation Army, in addition to participating in local 5k runs. My recent accomplishments include being selected as my Battalion’s NCO of the Quarter, and earning an Associate’s Degree in General Education. I am now pursuing an Undergraduate degree in Global Logistics Management with the goal of becoming qualified to work for the Department of Defense as a Logistics Manager.