I have always been conflicted when someone says “Thank you for your service.” To me it was my honor and pleasure to serve and I didn’t join to seek recognition. I know many veterans who feel the same way, but I still feel obliged to thank them since only a small fraction of our nation has worn a military uniform.

To me there is nothing quite as unique or as fulfilling as military service. Talk to ten service members or veterans and you will hear ten different stories of how they ended up in the military, but all of their stories will have some common threads -- selflessness, a sense of common purpose, and a calling to a purpose outside oneself.

My calling to military service began at a young age. Both of my grandfathers served in the Army during the Second World War and my father received two purple hearts during his service as a medevac pilot during Vietnam. I was honored to enlist in the Army after high school as the next generation of my family to serve. I served for just less than ten years (9 years, 10 months and 22 days to be exact) and it was the most rewarding and fulfilling job I have ever had. There is a certain camaraderie that develops among today’s service members in the all-volunteer force that would be hard, if not impossible, to replicate in any other environment.

During my service, I deployed to South and Central America as part of “The War on Drugs,” supported disaster relief missions, and deployed to Iraq twice with the 101st Airborne, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I was injured in Iraq during my second deployment and was medically retired from the military; however my dedication to service remained.

Following medical retirement, it became my life’s purpose to give back and assist my fellow service members still in the fight, and veterans of all eras. I have been busy volunteering with Veteran focused non-profit organizations, I have served as an amputee peer visitor at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, and I have gone back to complete my Master’s Degrees in Policy and Social Work.

Prior to joining Team Hurd, I spent three years as an Army Wounded Warrior Advocate assisting wounded soldiers and their families successfully transition back into the civilian world. It was a very rewarding position helping soldiers and families, and I soon realized that I wanted to help veterans on a larger scale.

I joined Team Hurd in August as a way to continue serving our nation’s military members and veterans at the individual level, while having the opportunity to affect change at the national level. As a fellow veteran, I recognize the selfless sacrifices the veterans of the 23rd Congressional District of Texas have made for our country and want to ensure that they receive the best possible service. 

To my fellow Veterans, allow me to say ‘Thank you for serving’ and Happy Veterans Day.

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A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.