George F. Routzhan is a System Administrator in the Office of Policy Support & Compliance.
One of the most difficult decisions of my life was to join the Army. However, I had thought about it for a long time and once I made the decision, there was no turning back. Once I learned the core values, discipline and soldier doctrine through my basic training at Fort Jackson, everything began to fall into place. I chose an MOS (Army vocation), which was one of the toughest jobs in the military. I wanted to follow in the same footsteps as my grandfathers, and my father. Both grandfathers served overseas in WWI and WWII. I come from a long line of military fathers; my dad served in the Marine Corps and was in Vietnam in 1967-68. My stepbrother is a lieutenant colonel and recently got back from the Middle East. Most of my direct forefathers served our country, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. On my mother’s side we have 14 Revolutionary War patriots — two who were with General Washington through that perilous winter at Valley Forge. The call to serve seems to be in my genes, I suppose.
I am constantly made aware that many of the skills I learned while a soldier in the Army I call upon most every day here in Compliance and Audit Services. The Army taught me how to get along with others and keep my head up high when times get tough. Life offers no guarantees and it can be taken from you without getting a chance to say goodbye. I lost many comrades in Iraq, young men and women, some only 18-years-old—gone in an instant. My advice is to enjoy the time you have and treat others the way you want to be treated. One of the most prominent lessons that I learned in the Army was how to persevere. Often times we think we have it bad, but when I remember Iraq, I witnessed hell all around me, and made it through. I feel lucky. I survived while many of my comrades did not. This has given me grace, courage, drive and strength to persevere.
Photo: George Routzhan.