News: Fatherhood focuses Soldier on career
Story by Sgt. Matt Leary
By Spc. Mathew Leary
4th Brigade Combat Team, Public Affairs Office
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, Afghanistan – "It was one thing to ruin my own life," said Spc. Jeremy P. Linville. "But when someone else's life was suddenly dependent on me it was a different story."
It's not that Linville, a cavalry scout with Troop B, 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, was a particularly troublesome young adult. He enjoyed going out with his friends and partying, spending time with his wife, and working at his job.
But finding out he and his wife were going to have a child made him realize it was time to buckle down and provide for his child.
"My wife called me up and told me she was pregnant and right after that I saw this Army commercial on T.V.," Linville said. Seeing the commercial brought back the idea of joining up and serving his country, something that had never been too far from his mind.
"I was an 'Army brat' growing up," he said.
At the time, Linville's brother was serving with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) out of Fort Campbell, Ky., and his father was a sergeant major in the Army and the senior enlisted advisor for the director of the National Security Agency. He had always encouraged his son to join the rank and files of the military, but Linville had been tempted away by other opportunities, he said.
"My dad tried to get me to join right out of high school but I had a scholarship to play basketball at college," he said.
So Linville choose to forgo enlisting in the Army, enrolled in college instead, and earned an Associate's Degree in the process.
But upon learning of the upcoming birth of his child, Linville focused on how to best support his family.
"I always had benefits growing up, with my dad being in the Army, and I wanted to make sure my child had those same benefits," he said.
So Linville went to his local recruiter and signed paperwork to enlist in the Army as a cavalry scout and a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division.
Joining the Army was largely based on his family, his wife and child motivating him to find a steady job with benefits, while his father's and brother's record of service gave him the idea where to turn, he said.
"It was the right decision to make, joining the Army," Linville said.
Easy-going family competition further motivated his decision to go airborne, as he couldn't let his air assault-qualified brother out do him, he said.
"He and I have always had a rivalry going," Linville joked with a slight smirk. "He joined the 101st and went air assault, so I joined the 82nd and went airborne."
But Linville knows who won that contest between siblings.
"You got to have more guts to be airborne," he said.
So now after serving for more than a year, Linville has just re-enlisted to stay in the 4-73rd Cav. and 82nd Abn. Div. for six more years, ensuring himself slots in Ranger and Sniper school as part of his contract, as well as taking the six-month college option so he can work to finish his bachelor's degree.
His re-enlistment is a benefit to the Army as well, as Linville is a high-speed Soldier who displays the fact he has a military upbringing by the way he conducts himself, said Army Staff Sgt. Keith O. Hambright, Linville's section sergeant in Troop B.
"He's always trying to get the mission done," he said. "He'll make an outstanding leader because he's a good Soldier and he's always looking out for and mentoring his fellow Soldiers."
Higher-ranking leaders in the squadron have noticed his steady performance as well, said Command Sgt. Maj. Mike J. Greene of Linville, the 4-73rd Cav. command sergeant major.
"Linville and guys like him are going to be part of that future generation of (cavalry scout) leadership in the 82nd," Greene said. "He wants to stay here and be a paratrooper."
In many ways, his fellow Soldiers in the 82nd have become his new family, motivating him to stay with the unit as he progresses in his Army career, Linville said.
But the main motivation behind his staying in the Army is what persuaded him to join in the first place.
"He's married and he has a new baby to take care of, and he's got a good plan to support them," said Army 1st Sgt. Daniel J. Gustafson, Linville's Troop first sergeant.
And looking out for one's family is about as good a reason as any to re-enlist and stay in, Gustafson said.
"All in all, I'm glad I joined," Linville said. "I've been able to take care of my family and that's what is most important."
And although he meant his wife and child, it would be easy to confuse exactly which "family" Linville was talking about.