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Why I Serve: To Defend Country, Guide Soldiers

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

FORT CARSON, Colo., Sept. 14, 2004 – "I believe you come into the military for a purpose: to defend your country," Army Staff Sgt. Jose Medrano emphasizes.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Staff Sgt. Jose Medrano said he serves to defend his country and take care of his junior enlisted soldiers. Photo by Donna Miles

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The veteran of seven years, assigned here with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment's 43rd Combat Engineer Company remembers growing up in Odessa, Texas, vowing that he'd "beat out" his grandfather's military service, cut short after just one year by a medical condition.

As he and his fellow unit members prepare for an upcoming deployment to Southwest Asia, Medrano said he's proud to be a part of the fight against terrorism. "It's important that we demonstrate that if you practice terrorism, you're going to get punished," he said.

But as he sends a message to terrorists, Medrano said he recognizes that it's just as important that he and his fellow noncommissioned officers send a message to junior soldiers who look to them for guidance.

Medrano is a member of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, one of the most prestigious noncommissioned officer clubs in the Army. The club honors leaders who exemplify attributes such as those possessed by Audie Murphy, the most- decorated soldier of World War II.

"It's for NCOs who go above the standards and set the example," said Medrano. But just as importantly, the club honors Murphy's tradition of looking out for the troops.

"That's my most important job as an NCO," said Medrano. "I believe that if you take care of soldiers and treat them with respect, they'll take care of you and treat you with respect."

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