In this edition of Why I Serve, featuring Wounded Warrior Project, the Recorder sat down with Iraq War veteran Adam Bagby, who discussed his time serving in the U.S. Army as a military police officer, why he chose to enlist in the army and more. Bagby, who now teaches world history at St. Augustine High School, served from 2001 to 2009. His first day of Advanced Individual Training was on the morning of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
What was it like knowing you were going to war?
We were actually in a building learning about paperwork, sworn statements, and sure enough a drill sergeant’s cell phone started going off. That’s when they said, “Formation everybody, go outside.” I was a squad leader at the time, and I said, “Listen, this is going to be a psychological test. Whatever is coming, just say, ‘Yes, you’re ready for war, that’s what they want to hear so tell them what they want to hear.’” Sure enough, it ended up not being a psychological test. That was my Sept. 11 We didn’t have radio, or televisions or cell phones and I genuinely thought it was a test. At that time, whoever thought about America being attacked?
What was your primary role?
As a military police officer, we actually have a bunch of different hats that we wear. Our primary role is what everybody sees when you go up to the gate, that’s called garrison — where we’re actually either a gate guard or we provide personal security, or we just patrol and write tickets and eat donuts. There is truth to that. And then we had another hat where we were field MPs (military police) and that’s where your job is really important. Not to say garrison’s not but when you’re field, that’s when you go to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Why did you serve?
I guess you’d have to say it goes back to my family going all the way back through to Jamestown. My family first came over as indentured servants. All through time my family have been farmers, but they would also wear their military hat so they served in the Revolutionary War and going back to the Spanish-American War all the way to the Civil War. My family has been in every military engagement throughout history. Then my generation comes up, my dad Vietnam, my grandfather World War II, my great grandfather was part of World War I and he was shot down three times and he managed to come home. But then it was me, my older brother Justin got injured in basic training, so my dad looked at me and said one of us has to serve. I’m like, “For tradition, for honor’s sake, yes I will serve.”