More About the Author
I was born in a small pocket town in Michigan, and at the age of eleven I moved with my family to the historic and equally tiny town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I was constantly surrounded by marble reminders of America's most pivotal battle during the Civil War, it was impossible to not be exposed to patriotic tales and lessons of the American fighting spirit.
After the events of 9/11, I joined the US Army with my parent's permission at the age of seventeen. I wasn't ready for college, and I felt like Afghanistan was my calling. After I joined, Iraq kicked off and I knew that I would have a rendezvous with destiny somewhere. I spent over three years as an infantryman in the 187th Infantry Regiment (Rakkasans) part of the 101st Airborne Division and was deployed to Iraq from 2005 to 2006. I helped secure the courthouse for Saddam Hussein's trial in Baghdad before shifting to daily and nightly combat patrols throughout the Tikrit area (It's all in the book!). Some of my military awards include: the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, two Good Conduct Medals, the Air Assault Badge, the Expert Infantryman's Badge, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
After my Honorable Discharge in 2006, I enrolled into college and pursued my interests in filmmaking. In 2009, I stumbled upon the rare opportunity to become one of the cast members of MTV's television show "The Real World: Brooklyn." I saw my time on the show as an opportunity to become a voice and face of the current generation of today's veterans and shed light on the struggles, joys, and misconceptions they face.
While an audience of millions looked on 'real' life caught up to me and I was involuntary recalled by the Army and forced to return to Iraq for another deployment. While the show was television to the nation, I had already returned to Iraq in April of 2009, and served in the southern Saydiyah section of Baghdad, again as an infantryman. I eventually was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
Throughout it all, I have always found time to simultaneously pursue my random personal interests. At the age of twenty-four, I became a published author with my first book entitled "An Angel from Hell" which is a very intimate memoir that chronicled my first deployment in Iraq. I also co-produced, filmed, and starred in "Return to Duty," a documentary about my second deployment, and the strain it puts a family through when a soldier deploys. It aired on MTV on Veteran's Day 2009.
In January of 2010 I was Honorably Discharged from the Army and returned to Pennsylvania. The first thing I did was returned to school and eventually graduated in August 2012 with a B.A. in Film and Media Arts from Temple University. Upon graduation I worked as a producution assistant in London for NBC Olympics for the 2012 Summer Games. Over the past few years I have also traveled the country and spoke to several different colleges and universities about my service as a soldier.
In my off time, I enjoy writing and playing songs on my guitar, filming and editing personal projects, and I'm an avid Civil War reader. I'm a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). In February 2010, I was able to take part in IAVA's annual "Storm the Hill" campaign and spent a week in the nation's capital speaking with senators and members of congress about their legislative agenda formulated to help and support all veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
I currently reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.