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Texas National Guard Soldier turns his life around

By Sgt. Karen Lawshae | 1st Armored Division | Jan. 9, 2020

AFGHANISTAN – Sgt. James Green's path to the U.S. Army could be described as rocky.

He was born in San Angelo, Texas, as a "military brat," the son of an Air Force tech sergeant. During his formative years, his family bounced around various places, including Maryland, Texas, Washington, Hawaii and Japan. His family finally settled in El Paso, Texas, after his father completed his Air Force service.

Green describes his early life as "chaotic and unstable. As soon as I would make a good friend, I'd have to leave."

This is an unfortunate fact of life for many military children. Still, Green had other issues to deal with – the eventual divorce of his parents and some extremely challenging anger issues. His mom thought his anger stemmed from the divorce, but Green says there were other concerns beyond the surface.

"I was angry, and I was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). I had a ton of energy and nowhere to put it," he said. "I was a very destructive child."

Green went through years of medication and therapy, none of which seemed to help. One day he decided to stop taking the drugs out of frustration and found other outlets to deal with his ADHD. Unfortunately, he turned to illegal means to deal with his issues.

Juvenile delinquency followed, with forays into theft, drugs and other illicit behavior. He was arrested for a minor offense, but it was enough to make him want to turn his life around. To find structure, he enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard in 2003 and deployed to Iraq within a year.

During Green's first deployment to Iraq, he gained clarity and focus dealing with difficult circumstances. His combat deployment to Iraq was harsh and violent. He was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with V Device for valor for his actions when his guard tower was attacked by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) and small arms fire.

In another incident, some Iraqi children were killed by a roadside IED targeted for him and his fellow Soldiers. Green had interacted with the same children the day before during a combat patrol, and the lone surviving child came to the gate of his unit's outpost after the tragedy to tell him what happened.

"It was at that point that all the anger I had been holding on to, all that energy was gone," Green said. "It was a completely reality-shattering moment for me, and everything changed in my life."

Green has deployed two more times to Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard and is currently serving in Afghanistan as a help desk administrator in the communications section.

Green is a proud member of the 1st Armored Division's Mobile Command Post Operational Detachment, known as the 1AD MCP-OD, a relatively new Texas Army National Guard unit that is a company-level element for the 1st Armored Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion based at Fort Bliss.

1AD MCP-OD Soldiers work with the division's active-duty Soldiers, providing essential skills during major training exercises and deployments. It is rare for a National Guard Soldier to work so closely with the active component.

"I really enjoy a lot of facets of it," Green said. "We have a lot more reach and a lot more opportunity to do the jobs that we originally signed up to do." Green also enjoys the MCP-OD's frequent opportunities for training missions and overseas deployments.

In addition to his military achievements, Green has educational goals. He holds an associate's degree in information systems and security from Western Technical Institute and aspires to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in cybersecurity and information assurance. He hopes to re-class his military occupational specialty to 35 series, intelligence and work in the Department of Defense. As for his Texas Army National Guard career, Green plans to take full advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by his unit.

"This MCP-OD will keep me until my military retirement," Green said.