PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The snow continues to fall heavily on Forward Operating Base Gardez, Afghanistan, as soldiers in the mechanics duty area work continuously to prepare vehicles and equipment for ongoing missions.
One soldier prepares his vehicle recovery truck for upcoming missions.
Spc. Annson J. Sanders, a 24-year-old Dickson, Tenn., native goes through the process of inspecting his truck with great detail.
"I drive the recovery truck," he said. "I have to be ready to go out there and recover damaged vehicles at any given moment."
Sanders grew up in a military family. His father, grandfather and numerous uncles had served in the military throughout the years.
"Growing up with so much family in the service, I felt the need to serve and do my part for our country as well," said Sanders.
Sanders enlisted more than three years ago and already had an idea of what he wanted to do in the army.
"I knew I wanted to be a mechanic before I stepped foot in the recruiting station," he said. "I wanted to be the one repairing the vehicles and equipment because then I would really know they were good to go."
Sanders leans against his truck deep in thought about his past.
"I used to be a factory worker," he said. "Then one day I just stood up and walked to the recruiting station down the street."
He enlisted that month and left home to begin his military career as a mechanic.
"I care for the safety of the people going out on convoys," said Sanders. "That's why I wanted to be the guy taking care of their vehicles and equipment."
Sanders talks of how he re-enlisted in November and explains his love for the army life he had happily volunteered for.
"For one thing, I met my wife while I've been in the Army," he said. "To be honest, I plan on making this a career."
"I mean, Fort Campbell is only my second duty station and this is only my first deployment," he continues. "But I really truly enjoy the Army so far."
When discovering he would be deploying with the 101st Airborne Division, Sanders grew excited at the thought.
"Once I found out I was going to the 101st I was extremely excited," said Sanders. "I wanted to deploy with the 101st because my father deployed with them when he was in."
With the goal of one day becoming an officer, Sanders plans to show his leadership he has the right qualities for the green to gold program.
Sanders hopes to be able to give future Soldiers the best leadership he can offer.
"There are many different styles of leadership," he said. "I want to use my experience while enlisted, take the good leadership, as well as not what to do, in terms of leadership."
"But for now," said Sanders. "I'm going to concentrate on being ready and able to help those soldiers that go out on missions whenever they may need it."
Editor’s Notes: Why we serve is an ongoing series highlighting the service and sacrifices made daily by the soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines of Regional Command-East. After more than a decade of conflict in Afghanistan, this series is dedicated to telling the service members’ story. Since 9/11, millions of Americans have volunteered to fight on behalf of their country. Regardless of branch, rank, age, gender or ethnicity, these service members share a common bond of service. These are their stories, and this is why they serve.
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