ARLINGTON, Va. (8/18/2011) -- Sgt. Zachery Yeager, a native of
Camp Verde, Ariz., enlisted in the Army, Jun. 20, 2006, and credits
his five years of service for transforming him from a defiant
unmotivated teenager to a disciplined upstanding soldier.
I hadn't joined the military, I would not be the sort of person I am
today,” said Sgt. Zachery Yeager, military police for the 289th MP
Company, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
been out on my own since I was 16,” said Yeager. “I didn't have
respect for parental authority. I didn't have respect for any sort
of authority. I was just heading down a really bad road.”
Although Yeager admits he rebelled against his parents, Yeager
acknowledges his father influenced his decision to join the Army and
become a MP.
“[My father] said joining the Army was the best
thing anyone could do,” said Yeager, recalling his father's advice.
“He thought military police would instill a lot more discipline in
me and give me a better kick start to life; I agreed.”
months later, Yeager found himself in the middle of combat in
“I was terrified. I've been blown up. I've been
shot at,” said Yeager. “I realized this was a whole different ball
game. Whenever I saw the appreciation, [from the American people],
that's when it hit me, we just got done doing something
Even after risking his life in Afghanistan,
serving a second tour in Iraq and re-enlisting in the Army two more
times, Yeager said his greatest accomplishment was truly making his
“I can just see the look on their faces that
they're really proud of me. That's a pretty monumental thing for me
personally,” said Yeager.
It's this same parental love
Yeager said he shares with his soldiers.
“I love my soldiers.
They're like one of my own children,” said Yeager, a father of
three. “They need you just as much as you need them.”
leader, Yeager said he hopes his soldiers are able to take away from
the Army the same lessons he has.
“Some soldiers look at the
here and now, but they do not look at the long term,” said Yeager.
“I want them to look at it from a point of view of who they were
before, who they are now, and who they are becoming constantly
because of the experiences they have had. Those experiences help
build character even if they don't see it.”
By Army Staff Sgt. Megan Garcia
3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment “The Old
Army News Service
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