To start this story, it is fair to let you know that I was a total military nerd growing up. I got my hand on a GI Joe figure at about age zero. As a kid, you would constantly find me in the backyard playing soldier. I was infatuated with military books and war movies. I would read or watch anything I could get my hands on, from classic movies like The Longest Day and Midway to modern movies like Black Hawk Down and Saving Private Ryan, I couldn’t get enough of them.

Once I was in high school, I was fully committed to joining the military, I just wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do. In my earlier years of high school, I knew about the special operations community, but I wasn’t sure if I was really cut out for something like that.

I began reading more and more about Naval Special Warfare; I became hooked. The hard training, the attrition rate, and the camaraderie were very appealing to me. Of course, the SEALs were in the spotlight and that’s all I would ever read or hear about. One day at school, there was a Navy recruitment table set up. On the table, there was a pamphlet for Navy SWCCs.

I had grown up on the water, fishing and working on boats. It had been my passion. When I learned about Navy SWCCs and what they did, I about shit myself from the excitement. I knew that was the job for me. One problem, SWCCs didn’t have officers and my parents were pretty hell-bent on me going to college — jerks.

Well, I ended up getting into Texas A&M University at Galveston’s Marine Engineering Technology program and signed up for NROTC, thinking maybe I’d just be an officer and find my way to BUD/S. But that was not what I really wanted to do.

I was training my ass off, doing two-three CrossFit workouts a day, swimming, and running. Within about two months of starting my freshman year, I knew I wanted to be a Navy SWCC and I wasn’t going to wait any longer.

I put on my nicest outfit and headed to the recruiting office in Houston. Well, I hadn’t made it more than about 10 minutes down the road before I hit an open manhole cover going 60 mph. Both my car’s axles were sheared and my truck and I were catapulted into a ditch. I totaled my truck and bought a trip to the hospital. Luckily, I was pretty much unscathed.

I initially thought that this was a bad omen and maybe I should take a hint, but I said F*&% it and went to the recruiting office about a week later. I walked in and asked who do I need to talk to and what do I need to do to become a Navy SWCC… the rest was history.