CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Trading the relative comfort of a desk job for the frontlines of war isn't the usual path for Soldiers not weaned on the infantry lifestyle.
Some Soldiers, however, feel they were born for it.
For Spc. Timothy Edmonds, from Elmwood, Tenn., a paralegal specialist with 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, becoming an infantryman has always been his Army goal and he took the final step in realizing it when he re-enlisted for the infantry, Dec. 9, here.
But it was a goal Edmonds had to be patient to finally achieve.
Edmonds, 22, said he joined the Army in 2007, but was unable to sign up as an infantryman due to color blindness.
"I was still determined to be in the Army somewhere and combat medic is close to the infantry so I chose that instead," Edmonds said. "But infantry was always my goal; I wanted to be in the fight."
Edmonds was prevented from becoming a medic at the last hurdle, and he switched his military occupational specialty.
"I made it through all the training, right up until the last three days and when I got my test results back from the National Registry Exam for EMT [emergency medical technician] basic, I had failed the test," Edmonds said. "I had passed everything else, but that one test knocked me out."
Following this setback, Edmonds was told he had to re-class to the legal field, leaving his dreams of joining the infantry further behind.
"I didn't really have a choice ... I was [subject] to the needs of the Army," he said.
Edmonds said he was assigned to the 1st ACB as his first duty station, but soon found sitting in an office far from ideal.
"I'm not in my element when I'm behind a desk all day," Edmonds said. "I'm more of an outside kind of guy, being on my feet. I like change."
When Edmonds left with the 1st ACB on their current deployment, he said being an infantryman was still uppermost in his thoughts.
Luckily an opportunity soon presented itself.
"The requirements changed from what they were when I first joined," Edmonds said, his color blindness no longer a barrier to the infantry. "They need more guys to do it [infantry] ... when they removed that I figured I could try again."
The next step was to reenlist and obtain his desired career field.
"I told [retention] what I wanted and how much I wanted it," he continued. "They knew my position, not liking my desk job and wanting to get outside and do things on the ground," he said.
Edmonds secured a four year re-enlistment and said it was a proud moment re-enlisting, knowing he is about to embark on his true calling.
"It felt a lot different than when I first enlisted. I had a bigger rush knowing I was getting what I wanted to do," Edmonds said with a smile.
But the challenge of his infantry training and the possibility of fighting on the frontlines loom for Edmonds, who said he will exert himself to achieve excellence in the field.
"If I like it the way I think I will, I believe I'll go far ... I'm going to be in the Army for a while," he continued. "It takes a certain kind of person to do it and I think I have the attributes to be successful in this field."
The reality of combat doesn't concern Edmonds, who said the training he expects to get will serve him well should the occasion arise.
"I hope when that time comes, the moment of truth, I'll rely on my training to take over," he said. "I'm part of the Army and I just hope I can do what I'm trained to do and make my family proud."
The less than glamorous life of an infantryman also suits Edmonds, who said he wants to be in the thick of the action defending his nation.
"I appreciate what I have back home ... I grew up on a farm and it's beautiful country and I couldn't imagine the stuff going on out here spilling over to where I grew up," Edmonds said. "I don't want them to see that, so that's why I'm doing my part in taking care of business and getting things done."
Now Edmonds path is set in stone, he said it is a decision he is sure he will not regret further on in the future.
"We live with our decisions and we learn to adjust and adapt, just like when I became a paralegal," he explained. "I'm anticipating getting some good training and doing what I'm trained to do."
This work, Air Cav paralegal changes gears for career, by Alun Thomas, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.