Walking down campus walk, students might not look twice at passerbys. What we don’t see are the stories behind each face.
Passing Daniel Carroll on campus walk two years ago, you might not have noticed his army t-shirt and dog tags. However, today, what makes Carroll unique is that through trial and error, he found his path.
Raised by a father in the Air Force, Carroll learned to appreciate the military. Carroll’s grandfathers’, great uncle and brother’s service in the military remained a reminder of duty.
It wasn’t surprising when as a sophomore; Carroll participated in the Army ROTC program at UMW, which is offered as an affiliate of the George Mason University Army ROTC Patriot Battalion.
“It has always been in the back of my mind. I know this is what I want to do, at the same time, sacrifices that people make, well, you don’t fully understand them until you consider taking them on yourself,” Carroll said.
However, between traveling back and forth to George Mason along with classes and a busy UMW track season, time and money ran out. Though becoming an army officer was what he wanted to do as a carrier, Carroll felt the fire behind his idea slowly dimming.
“…When I officially pulled the plug on [ROTC], it was kind of one of those things where I knew I needed to do it if I wanted to focus on my schoolwork,” Carroll said.
While knowing that the ROTC program wasn’t right for him, Carroll couldn’t sit around and wait while men and women sacrificed their lives everyday.
During the summer, Carroll talked with his family and recruiters, and learned that he could have a normal life and still be a part of the Army National Guard.
After scoring high on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a timed multi-aptitude test, Carroll had a lot of options. Ultimately, 19 Calvary sparked his interest.
“I’ve made up my mind, this is what I want to do,” Carroll said.
Basic training will start next summer, where Carroll will continue to learn how to be a soldier. However, Carroll sees himself as an ordinary student.
“I always joke with my friends, every little boy says [they] want to be an army man, fire man, a police man, but I guess I never grew out of that,” Carroll said. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do.”