Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
FAIRFIELD – Fairfield High School’s Auditorium was packed Thursday morning with students and members of the public who came to show their respect for those who served in honor of Veterans Day.
The high school’s band and choir performed for the occasion, which was emceed by retired U.S. Army Sgt. Jim Salts. The guest speaker was Sgt. Kyle Green, a recruiter with the Iowa Army National Guard in Fairfield and a former member of the U.S. Marines.
Green was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, but grew up nearby in Bloomfield, Iowa. He said he joined the military because he came from a patriotic family, and because the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred during his freshman year of high school, and he wanted to do his part as soon as he could. At age 17, he was in a mall, and saw a recruitment center for the Marines, so he jumped at the chance to enlist.
Green spent eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, during which he specialized as a diesel mechanic. He served in Japan and in 2008 was deployed to Iraq. Though he was headquartered in the city of Al Asad, his company went on patrols all over the country. He was in Iraq for nine months, and said the Iraq War was characterized not just by “normal gunfights” but a feeling that an attack, such as from an improvised explosive device, could happen at any time.
Upon his return to the United States, Green went to drill instructor school. He left the Marines and in 2019 joined the Army National Guard, for which he is a recruiter.
Tyson Milam is a 2020 graduate of Fairfield High School, and he was at Thursday’s Veterans Day program dressed in his National Guard fatigues. Milam said he never expected to join the Guard, until he had a meeting with Green.
Milam and a friend went to the armory in Fairfield one day to use its workout equipment. Green said the boys could use the equipment as long as they gave him just 15 minutes of their time to talk about their future. Milam told Green he had no plans to join the Guard because he didn’t think he could meet the physical expectations.
“I learned that not everything I heard about the Guard was true,” Milam said.
The 15 minutes Milam promised Green turned into a two-hour conversation. At the end of it, Milam was ready to join the National Guard. Milam said that he learned he could get a full ride in college, which he is attending now at Indian Hills Community College. He plans to transfer to the University of Iowa and eventually hopes to get a job in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.