I was on my first deployment with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, in Okinawa, Japan on Camp Schwab.
When the attacks happened, I was in my barracks room and heard a bunch of shouting in the hallway, telling everybody to turn on their TV's. When we turned the TV on we first saw the first plane impact the twin towers.
Once I saw the second one hit the towers I started to think, “this is a lot bigger than what I'm thinking right now.” The senior Marines who were there started saying things like "All right, boys. We're going to war now."
It was confusing for the most part, just being so young and not really understanding what was going on.
Once those attacks happened, within two or three days, we were sent to Guam to go and guard Camp Convington Seabee Base and Anderson Air Force Base. That completely changed my opinion on how we operate as a fighting force — to be able to go in a matter of moments, on a bird going to provide protection for anything that may happen.
It let me know that I really could deploy to any clime and place at any point in time. That's when I understood that being a rapidly deployable force was real.
As a father, I try my best to educate my kids on what happened. The reality is, there are a lot of bad people in the world. As many times as I try to shelter them from that, I have to let them know that 'this is the reason why the towers went down'.
Every day you wake up, you need to ask yourself, "If something happened today, am I ready to be deployed? Am I physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally capable right now to be rapidly deployed and be able to take care of that Marine to the left and right of me?"