SALAH AD DIN, IRAQ
FORWARD OPERATION BASE SUMMERALL, Iraq — Joining the Army turned out to be a perfect fit for Pfc. Michael George. Before joining, the native of Philadelphia, Pa., worked as a freelance personal fitness trainer, ran his own company and managed other personal trainers as well. When business started getting a little dry, George's thoughts turned to the Army.
"I'm third generation Army," he said, "So it was one of those things that was always kind of in the back of my mind."
George has served in the Army for a year now and says his family supported him all the way.
"They were ecstatic. My father has always raised me up with a military upbringing. My brother served in the Marine Corps as well. So everybody has been real supportive. My dad loves me being in the infantry. That's the kind of family I grew up in. We've always had a lot of American pride. We love serving, and I'm definitely going to make a career out it."
George serves as an Army infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. He says while he has always been disciplined, one of the things he enjoys most about the Army is the camaraderie.
"That's something I never had in my life, like I do in the Army. It's just one of those feelings I haven't got anywhere else."
George, who is now 29, says joining the Army at an older age has taken some getting used to.
"It's challenging at times, especially when my leadership is younger than me, but it's one of those things that has humbled me. It's allowed me to take direction and follow someone above me; whereas with my own business I always kind of called my own shots."
George recently went back to his fitness roots and participated in the Dragon Brigade's "Iron Dragon" physical fitness test. He was among four Soldiers from 2-16 Inf. to receive the Iron Dragon award. The "Iron Dragon" is a rigorous fitness test that goes above and beyond the Army's standard physical fitness test.
"I love physical challenges, so I was ready for it. Anything that involves physical activity, I'm the first to jump on it. I really wanted to do something like that in my unit because it sets you apart from other Soldiers."
The wind was blowing hard that day and as the participants started off a timed three-mile run the wind was to their backs, but halfway through the run, as they turned around they found themselves running against the wind.
"My legs were on fire." said George, who made it across the finish line in 22 minutes, which was the maximum run time allowed. He literally didn't have a second to spare.
For George, challenging himself is one of the reasons he joined the Army. He says it's an awesome lifestyle, and he loves his job.
"At my age I know now that this is something I'm going to do for the next 20 years. I love the Infantry, [and] I wouldn't pick any other job."
||SALAH AD DIN, IQ
This work, Trainer to training; former fitness trainer loves Army life, by SSG Richard Colletta, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.