In this edition of Why I Serve, featuring Wounded Warrior Project, the Recorder sat down with Nocatee resident Josh Wathen, an Army veteran who served as a military police officer in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kyrgyzstan. Wathen was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) twice while on patrols in Iraq. He currently is in graduate school at University of North Florida (UNF) and is a grad manager with the men’s basketball team.
What do you take away from the IED experiences?
I’m just thankful that I came home, because there are a lot of servicemembers who didn’t. Being over there, serving our country and going through an incident like that was very memorable. It was maybe the worst part but the best part because I knew why I was there.
What did you learn most from your military experiences?
Probably leadership. In my 11 years, I was always in charge of a small group from early on in my career. So, it gave me a good understanding of what it took to be a good leader. I had a lot of great leaders above me that I learned from, so it was a rewarding experience.
What would be your advice to someone who might be joining the military soon?
Take it seriously. It’s a great experience. When you’re getting started in basic training, you might think why I am here, what am I doing, this is hard. You have great leaders before you, and they want nothing but the best for you, even when it may seem like they’re being difficult on you. They’re really just trying to get the best out of you and prepare you for a great future.
To watch the video interview, check out pontevedrarecorder.com and click Why I Serve.