Just a year ago, he was one of our Boys of Fall, celebrating his latest win on a football field. Today, Bryan Goodman belongs to Uncle Sam.
I’ve known Bryan Goodman since he was a very young boy. You know how it is; I never really thought about it except that he was a cool kid that I enjoyed a lot. Then, as Bryan grew a little older he did what most boys in Comanche, Texas do, he took to the football field, becoming a Boy of Fall…as is the norm all across the Lone Star state. And then Bryan graduated.
This past season I was working on a football video for the Comanche Indians and I looked back a season to jog my memory on what I wanted to do, and there was Bryan running out of the tunnel, and it hit me. How quickly life changes. Yesterday a Comanche Indian, today a Marine…and I wanted to understand why…so I called Bryan and asked him to come talk to me.
“Why? Why are you doing this?”
I’m a mother; I’m a grandmother, and I was the teacher of many, many boys who went on to become military men that caused me many, many sleepless nights, no matter how proud I was of them. For some reason, I needed to understand why Bryan Goodman had chosen to walk this same road.
“I’ve always been interested in the military and as I got older. I became more and more interested in it. I like the brotherhood that comes with it as well as the responsibility that comes with the job.
“Right now, I have signed up for 8 years, 4 active and 4 inactive. My first four years will be active. Those last four years I can do what I want to with, but they can call me back in at any time because the minimum time a marine must serve is eight years.
So what’s first, I wanted to know.
“I passed my ASVAB; that was the first thing I had to do. Then I had a full body physical, signed my contract, and took the oath. That was on October 29.”
From this date, there was no going back…Bryan was going to be a Marine.
“Then, I came home. Every month I have a PT [physical fitness] function. Recruits have to report in every month to make sure that we are staying in physical condition before boot camp. I report there in Abilene at the Marine Corp office every second weekend of every month.”
Bryan has to be in San Diego on February 9 to report for boot camp, which will last for thirteen weeks.
“Why Marines? When I was younger, I watched a military movie and then asked my grandpa about it. I told him that I was going to join the army because I liked the uniforms. He told me that if I wanted to be a real man, I would join the marines. So…I was going to join the marines,” the young man with the dimple told me.
“My grandpa had just returned from Iraq where he was a contractor. He has spent a lot of time with the military in his life, but in Iraq, it was the marines he was with most, and he was impressed with them.
“After boot camp, I will come home for 10 days and then go into infantry school back in San Diego. That will last for 2 months. I will be working on shooting skills and formations; that’s all I know for now.”
Since he is already a self-proclaimed “decent shot,” that shouldn’t be too hard. From there, Bryan could go to Japan, Hawaii, the East Coast, or remain in San Diego for more training. He will spend 6-8 months like this, “return home for a month or two, and then go wherever they tell me.”
Obviously, Bryan will be in the infantry so it is always possible that he will find himself on the front lines somewhere, and I asked him why he chose infantry.
“I wanted to do something for my country, and I wanted action.”
“Does it seem real yet?”
“Not right now since I only see my recruiter one time a month, but we do talk once a week about daily life, family, work, etc. I chose military instead of college because I really was more interested in military, but I do plan to go to school later, and the military will pay for it. I want to study criminal justice so I can become an air marshal.”
And then I asked Bryan Goodman to do something for me. I asked that he not forget our conversation and that he not forget the things we talked about that did not find their way into this article. And I asked that no matter what happens in the course of the path that he has chosen, no matter how good and God forbid, no matter how bad, that he come back and tell me honestly what it is like “out there” because without those men and women who are willing to return home and speak honestly to the rest of us, there is no way for us to realistically understand the rest of the world.
And I know that every single one of you join me in asking God to bless every single one of the Bryan Goodmans who are scattered across the world tonight, and may God Bless America.