When Nathan Jones was in the 4th grade he had an opportunity to meet with the North Carolina Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr.
Jones’ father, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bruce Jones helped set up the meeting as part of a school project his son was completing.
During the meeting, nine-year-old Jones presented Ingram with a coin by passing it to him through a hand shake, which is a military tradition used to show appreciation for going above and beyond.
Ingram presented the young boy with his own coin and asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.
With his head cocked slightly and a roll of his eyes, Jones said, “I’m going to be in the National Guard like my daddy.”
Years later, Jones has now kept his promise and raised his right hand, reciting his oath of enlistment, given by his father, officially making him a Soldier in the North Carolina Army National Guard during a ceremony at the Military Entrance Processing Center in Raleigh, N.C. on August 11, 2017.
August 11, 2017 - Nathan Jones, right, son of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bruce Jones, left, the Force Integration Readiness Officer with the North Carolina National Guard (NCNG), repeats back the oath of enlistment to his father while his right hand is raised, officially joining the NCNG at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Raleigh. When Nathan was in 4th grade, he met Maj. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., the NC Adjutant General at the time and told him he was going to join the NC Guard, just like his dad. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell)
Jones credits his father’s service as the inspiration behind him becoming a Guardsman.
“I joined because I wanted to be like my dad and I saw that he was a hero,” Jones said. “He inspired me to be that hero that I’ve always wanted to be and to serve others.”
Although his father never doubted he would join, he is still impressed by his son’s commitment.
“I’m amazed and proud all at the same time,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bruce Jones, the Force Integration Readiness Officer with the North Carolina National Guard (NCNG). “The fact that a nine-year-old boy had already determined that he was going to serve his country, his state and others just amaze me. The fact that he followed through on his statement to the highest ranking North Carolina National Guardsmen that he knew at the time makes me proud to call him my son.”
Jones said that meeting the NC Adjutant General also helped lead him on his journey to become a Guardsman.
“I remember looking up at him and thinking he’s a big dude at first,” Jones said. “He was really cool and I’m glad that I met him. He inspired me, even more, to be in the military and go down this path.”
Jones already understand the sacrifice it takes to be in the military from watching his father, who deployed to Iraq in 2003 when Jones was almost four years old.
“I told him at that young age that he was the default man of the house and he took that to heart so many years ago,” Jones’ father. “He has always stepped up to take on tasks while I’m away from home with Guard duty. I think somewhere in his mind he equates committing to the service as part of his crossing over into manhood.”
Every child deals with their parents leaving differently, but for Jones, it was the source of his desire to lead of life committed to the military.
“He inspired me from the start,” Jones said. “I grew up with him talking about military lingo that I'd never understand, but why he was talking about it I started to get little bits and pieces of it. Then he went off a couple of times and when he did it kind of inspired me to go off and fight for our freedom and fight for our country and be able to die for our country. He inspired me in that way too and as a dad, he encouraged me to follow my dream.”
Jones’ dream came true when he signed his enlistment contract shortly before he recited his oath.
“I was happy when I signed, it felt right,” he said. “It felt like I was home.”
August 16, 2017 - Nathan Jones, son of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bruce Jones, the Force Integration Readiness Officer with the North Carolina National Guard (NCNG), talks with Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, the NC Adjutant General, after a ceremonial enlistment in Raleigh. When Nathan was in 4th grade, he met Maj. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., the NC Adjutant General at the time, and told him he was going to join the NC Guard, just like his dad. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell)
A few days later, Jones had the opportunity to meet the current North Carolina Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, who encouraged Jones to continue in his father’s footsteps and stay in the Guard longer than his initial contract.
“You are on the first few rungs of the ladder that will take you throughout the rest of your career,” Lusk said.
Lusk presented Jones with his coin for keeping his promise when he was a little boy to one day join the service.
By Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Mary Junell
Provided through DVIDS
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