I thought that before I even begin talking about my journey, my experiences and my life as a soldier in the U.S. Army, I should give some perspective on why I'm doing this. I could wax philosophical about the role of each citizen in a democratic republic. I could delve into my own personal values and beliefs. I could even even compare the details of my personality as it relates to the life I've chosen. But if I did any of those things all you'd be left with is a boring display of my writing ability.
The fact is, people join the military for thousands of different reasons, yet the end result is always service at a price, and at its most selfless. This I know. And at this point, that is all I know. Three days before my "ship date" and I am as green as they come. But that self-awareness will do me well as an officer.
And so, to answer the question of "Why?", I'll tell you exactly what I was required to tell them. As a part of my application for approval to become an Officer Candidate I had to provide a one-page personal statement. It was challenging because this duty, and this obligation is something I've carried with me for many years; and it's matured as I have. To limit those reasons to a few paragraphs was difficult. But I did it with one idea in mind, and it was a train of logic inspired by Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson was a revolutionary even in times of peace. If you know anything about his mindset, he firmly believed in the inevitable corruption that power breeds, and he felt it was necessary to overthrow entire governments whenever they abandoned the will of the people for their own gains. And he combined that thinking with the elitism of his day. He believed that in the times of the greatest hardship, with the greatest need, and involving the most difficult obstacles, the best and brightest and bravest had a duty to come forward for the benefit of all people. At no time have I ever been so proud to think that there aren't many who are better than me at any one thing, but at the same time, I believe that I have been blessed with so many gifts and opportunities that I have an obligation to step forward, to serve, and to sacrifice for a greater good. And the time is now.
Here is my personal statement:
I am compelled to serve, sacrifice and persevere to ensure the guarantees of freedom and liberty, and to be part of something bigger than my own self. That is a strong statement, but a true one as well. Describing my sense of duty, the calling I have found in military service and the honor I know will come from this commitment to my country is cliché, but there is truth in every such saying. My achievements and education afford me the possibility of success down any path I pursue, yet this is the direction I know I must follow to find satisfaction in my life’s work.
I have earned honors in all levels of academia, and have been in positions of leadership in an array of organizations, but I am more than my resume. For me, being an effective Officer is more than merely holding a higher rank and status. I am applying for this position because I want to earn the opportunity to set an example, with the knowledge that I am resolute in my loyalty to the individuals depending on me to serve them. The commitment to serve this country as an Officer in the United States Army is not one to be made lightly. It is the kind that changes a citizen into a soldier and transitions an individual into a leader of others. More than the pledge of time or personal risk is the awesome responsibility that comes with every commission. Each day the safety and general welfare of many rely on the actions and decisions of a few.
I want to make the point clear that I am not only aware of this responsibility, but feel confident and ready to be accountable on this level. This has been my dream, and I have prepared myself for this role, both on paper and in my heart.
Dominic John Bono