Why they serve: the military has always been my life

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Story and Photo by Cpl. Robert Moore, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade

Sgt. Barry R. Middleton, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment (photo Cpl. Robert Moore, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment )

Joint Base Balad, Iraq.– For Sgt. Barry R. Middleton, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment based in Harlan, Ky., the military has always been a part of Middleton’s life.  Both his stepfather and his grandfather were in the Army, but it was not until one of his friends joined the Kentucky Army National Guard that Middleton could actually see the positive changes that the military could provide.

“The National Guard has done so many good things for my stepdad and my friends, I knew that joining the National Guard would be good for me too,” he said.

Middleton joined the Kentucky Army National Guard in 2006 when he was just 17 years old. Middleton explained how the National Guard has given him many life skills such as, time management, knowledge of vehicle maintenance and improved communication skills. The National Guard also gave him the confidence to succeed in his civilian aspirations as well. Middleton is excited to begin his new job at the Manchester Correctional Institution upon his return from this deployment.

During the past five years, Middleton has set many goals for himself while in the National Guard which included making the rank of Sergeant and deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. While accomplishing these goals he has simultaneously improved the quality of life for his young family and provided assistance to the Commonwealth of Kentucky during the recent ice storms. Middleton said that his favorite memory of the past five years in the National Guard is when his received a coin from the 1st sergeant of Forward Operating Base Lion for his outstanding performance during a mission in the Panjshir province of Afghanistan. Middleton is looking forward to this February when he will separate from the National Guard to spend more time with his family and take the next step in his life.

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