ARLINGTON, Va. (7/25/2011) -- Sgt. Brian West, infantryman, Bravo
Company, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), discusses his
reasons for serving.
What motivates a former Walmart employee
to leave the comforts of the civilian workforce and join the ranks
of thousands of men and women who put their lives on the line every
“I wanted to do something bigger than myself. The Army
is more than just helping an old lady across the street but helping
to free other countries. It has a bigger benefactor. I wanted to be
a part of that,” said Sgt. Brian West, an infantryman from Bravo
Company, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
native of Morehead City, N.C., said his decision to join the Army
three years ago wasn't only based on his dedication to selfless
service, but also an important influence within his family. West
said watching his father's military career greatly inspired him.
“I tried to follow in his footsteps,” said West, whose father
served in the Army and later retired from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Despite West's mild mannerisms and easygoing personality, he
said he knew he was destined to become an infantryman, the Army's
main combat job.
“11 Bravos [infantryman] have a pride about
how they do their thing. That pride is to exceed standards and
overcome anything. That's how we train, that's how we fight,” said
Although West has yet to experience combat, his mission
in The Old Guard is equally important. The Old Guard, the Army's
premier ceremonial unit, performs the most solemn of ceremonies;
laying fallen soldiers to rest. This is a task West said he doesn't
“There's always that responsibility, and level
of respect and honor we have to give to anyone that's buried out
here [Arlington National Cemetery],” he said. “It's not only because
we have to, but because we genuinely want to.”
his most memorable moment, a specific funeral where only one person
“We didn't know anything about the person who died
or the family situation, but we were there to show support and be
the family,” he said.
West's inspiration comes from the
camaraderie he finds in his soldiers and fellow brothers.
“Without them I'm nothing. People are truly motivated when they are
trying to achieve a goal together,” he said.
plans to leave the military in two years to pursue the total college
experience, his journey through the Army will leave a lasting
“I've learned to treat people with respect and
understanding. Everybody I have met had a role to play in building
me into a leader,” he said.
By Army Sgt. Megan Garcia
3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment “The Old
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