I was sitting at my gate waiting to board my flight when I looked over and saw a familiar face. I looked again and saw that the face was indeed that of SSgt. Travis Mills. For those not familiar with SSgt. Mills he is an Army veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division and a quadruple amputee as a result of wounds suffered in combat in Afghanistan on his 3rd deployment.
I first learned of SSgt. Mills from when he was a guest on retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink’s podcast. After hearing his story I started following him on Facebook and that’s how I recognized him. I picked up my bag and went over and introduced myself and we spoke for a few minutes and took a picture before boarding. Throughout those few minutes SSgt. Mills was friendly, positive, and just a great guy. We were on the same flight but in different sections.
I’m writing this in the air because a few thoughts are fresh in my mind and I wanted to get them down before I lost them. A couple things about this chance meeting. I’ve met a good number of Veterans of the current wars and they have always been impressed by their drive and motivation. My meeting SSgt. Mills who has given so much for all of us has cemented in my beliefs that the current Veterans are the new Greatest Generation. Many with multiple deployments away from home and family, sustaining wounds and traumas without hesitation. These men and women are truly the future of our nation just as the Veterans of WWII were.
At the personal level meeting SSgt. Mills reaffirmed to me the idea that life is what we make it, don’t limit yourself, and to never quit. Many thanks to SSgt. Mills to share a few minutes with me. It was an honor.
For those interested, SSgt. Mills operates a Veterans retreat in Maine and has a foundation.
Author – Art Dorst is the owner of A. Dorst Consulting & Training Services and is a Senior Consultant for LaSorsa & Associates. He served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves and eventually retired as an NCO from The Army National Guard. He is also a retired municipal Police Officer, a Certified EMT, NRA Instructor, and is currently a security provider/trainer.