I usually don't respond to these requests, but I felt that I would, even if it does not make it to The American Legion Magazine. I enlisted in the Army in July of 1981. It's interesting that I still remember one of my drill sergeants. His name was Sgt. Sneden. I think he was an E-7 at the time. I remember him because of the positive impact that he had on my life. Coming from a small farm in Arkansas, I was a scared 19-year-old guy with absolutely no knowledge of the military. Although Sneden was hardcore at first, I will never forget the genuine care and concern that he still showed. Hetaught me and several others, I'm sure, literally how to be a soldier, a man, and a meaningful catalyst in the world.
My discipline is attributed to Sneden. When I met him in July of 1981, I barely knew myself. He helped me, albeit quite harsh sometimes, find myself as both a soldier and a man. Since my medical discharge in 1988, I have earned a bachelor's degree in computer information systems, a master's degree in business administration, a master's degree in human resources management, and a doctorate in education. I am nearly done with my master's degree in accounting and finance management and CPA.
I often think of the impact that Sneden, stationed at the basic training camp in Fort Sill, Okla., when I was there in July of 1981, made on me, and I wish that I could somehow say, "Thank you, sergeant," for I would not be who I am today if I had not met him, regardless of the fact that his training was grueling and harsh and regardless of the fact that he recycled me for not qualifying with the rifle. My basic training was an additional six weeks, but I left an expert rifleman.