BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Pfc. Kyle Seeger remembers thinking that something bigger than himself was helping his hand as he signed the papers that would commit him to military service for the next four years.
“I thought to myself, ‘This is a complete step of faith,’” said Seeger. “I had no idea what I was getting into, but I knew it would be a challenge.”
Seeger, a 23-year-old soldier deployed from Fort Riley, joined the Army in May 2011, as a human resources specialist. Exactly what he was getting into became clear quickly: one year later it was spring, fighting season for the Taliban, and Seeger was stationed on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, working around the clock in the headquarters battalion of the 1st Infantry Division, the unit charged with overseeing one of the last major offenses of the Afghan war.
“It’s blown my mind every step of the way — very challenging,” said Seeger, “but it’s a good challenging. I think I’ve grown as an individual and I think as a man, too.”
Before Bagram and the Army, Seeger was a student at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, Calif. Reflecting on his choice to serve, to leave sun-soaked southern California for the unknown, Seeger stands 7,000 miles from where he started.
“I didn’t know what to do next,” he said. “After college, I was inspired by the Army. My father was in the military and I started to take steps of faith toward that way.”
And then there’s Sept. 11. Seeger, who was a mere 12 years old when the planes hit lower Manhattan, said the attacks nevertheless played a part in his motivation to enlist.
“I wanted to join an organization that was fighting the fight,” he said. “I wanted to be part of an organization that picks up a rifle and protects the freedoms of our nation.”
Seeger picks up his rifle daily, and while his work doesn’t call him to the frontlines, he feels strongly about what he does to support the troops in the fight.
“I provide a daily account of unit strength and where each soldier is at,” he said.“It’s important that our commanders, from the colonel to the general, know where their troops are.”
Seeger also helps his co-workers in the human resources, or “S1 shop”, manage pay, promotions and other personnel issues.
Seeger and the roughly 700 other service members that deployed with Task Force Defender will wrap up their deployment next spring.
The human resource specialist from Florida will have three years left in service – time enough to guarantee more a few more challenges. He hasn’t decided if he will stay in the military but Seeger said he and his family are already proud of his time served so far.
“My family is very proud,” said Seeger. “I have a huge support team, not only in my parents but my wife Megan, who is extremely supportive.”