David Watt, CPT, U.S. Army, Retired


From high school dropout to graduate degree

Wheaton, MD

Life is easy for no one, and for me it seemed especially difficult as a child during the Vietnam era. My parents divorced when I was very young and neither had much interest in myself or my siblings. Without parental guidance or supervision, my older brother and I seemed to find more than our share of trouble and school was not something we were much interested in. We had found other boys just as interested in finding trouble as well and by the time I was 17 I had completely stopped attending school and my brother was arrested one night with a few others as a result of some of these troubles. A friend from school had asked if I was interested in going to see an Army recruiter with him - in that moment I had a sense of clarity and realized that if I were ever to have much of a life, I had to change my ways. I joined the Army. Although the Army took me, they still expected me to complete a high school general equivalency diploma (GED) while on active duty. With my newfound discipline and organizational skills, I completed that and after my first enlistment used my GI Bill to receive my bachelor's degree in education while also taking ROTC classes. After graduation, I was commissioned as a regular Army Officer and while on active duty completed a master's degree. I retired in 1998. If you were to ask anyone who knows me well about the things I am most proud of, after my wife and children, I credit the U.S. Army and the GI Bill for changing my life and making me a productive member of society.

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