News: New pathfinders find their way
FORT IRWIN, Calif. – A pathfinder is someone who finds the way forward, ever cognizant of where they are going, what they are doing, all the while keeping a keen eye on where they have been and who might be following. This is the life of a pathfinder soldier.
For those chosen to be pathfinders, the way forward is often murky, barely mapped and dangerous. For Spc. Brandon Dones of Corydon, Ind., Spc. Ben Hanawalt of Detroit and Spc. Shea Goodnature of Naples, Italy, not one of them would want to do anything else.
“I always wanted to travel and to serve my country,” said Goodnature. “It felt right. Serving felt like something I had to do. It is also the only life I knew, having grown up an Army brat.”
Goodnature's teammates echo his sentiments, though their paths were slightly different.
“I didn't want to join right out of high school,” said Hanawalt. “I've always wanted to join. I also knew that if I did join right out of high school, I'd never go back.”
Dones also grew up with family in the Army and whose ambitions may take him away from the pathfinders.
“I'm looking to go flight,” said Dones. “I want to fly with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.”
Regardless of the motivations that brought them into the Army, Dones, Hanawalt and Goodnature are relishing the sense of camaraderie that being in the pathfinder company presents.
“It's a small unit, leaders sometimes ask you for your input,” said Dones. “No matter what happens, somebody always has your back. The Pathfinder company is more like a family. I have developed personal and professional relationships.”
The leadership in the pathfinder company takes it upon themselves to ensure that the new pathfinders can see where the newer members should be going.
“I have learned how a good leader leads,” said Goodnature. “We're fortunate to get this kind of leadership as young soldiers.”
The way forward is not as certain as the pathfinders' history, but these young soldiers keep it in perspective.
“Our main mission is personnel recovery,” said Goodnature. “This is soldiers helping soldiers.”
Date Posted:03.06.2012 15:00
Location:FORT IRWIN, CA, US
Hometown:CORYDON, IN, US
Hometown:DETROIT, MI, US
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