It happened in an instant; working towards his six year bachelor of science and biology degree, to become a surgeon, Micah Burnett saw his possible future…and he panicked. Almost immediately following what he now dubs his “Quarter life crisis,” he enlisted himself in the army and began work as an intelligence analyst shortly after his two-year training.
When asked why he settled on something so drastic, Micah says “I did it because I thought it was the right thing.”
His initial decision to enlist in the military, although made after he saw his “possible future,” wasn’t completely spontaneous.
Burnett was born on an American military base in Israel, Germany and went on to grow up on numerous other United States bases as his parents carried out their military duty.
Moving around and living on bases was the only “normal” Micah knew as he navigated his way through his teenage life. He made friends with his fellow military brats and met people he believes he may never have met otherwise.
His cultural and military immersion created a sense of service obligation in Burnett, but his “quarter life crisis” convinced him it was time for him to enlist.
He served in the military for a total of five years, but it wasn’t until the attacks on September 11, 2001, just after his training completion that he was thrown into the chaos of war.
Within a mere three days, Micah was in Iraq.
He took it all day by, recalling that all he could do was live “in the moment.” something most veterans agree with.
With only one twenty-minute phone call back home every two weeks if he was fortunate, Micah was left with his work and his platoon members to pass the time. After working 12-16 hour days without any off days for the rest of his military service, he truly feels he got to know those platoon members on a personal level.
“I believe I know them better than anyone,” Burnett explains, of his long distractionless conversations with the men he worked alongside.
Even now, years after retiring from the military, Micah still communicates with the six platoon members he did then.
During the war, Burnett and his coworkers woke up each day, without any knowledge of exactly what was to come next, something he recognizes as the “element of the unknown.” He claims “no one can predict the future,” as he couldn’t during his own time in the military.
The unknown plays a role in whether or not some men and women decide they’ll join the United States Military-something else that Micah recognizes to be fair.
“Usually it’s a combination of reasons…each soldier has their own reasons,” he explains.
Regardless, Micah feels strongly that each and every United States citizen should help and give back to their country in any form they can; be it military service or community service in their own neighborhood.
After dedicating five years of his to do just what he believes so strongly in-serving his country- he doesn’t want to be recognized in the typical fashion.
“I don’t self identify as a veteran,” he’ll tell you.
He regards the term as a just that, a labeling word that’s not unique to the family he comes from, with multiple of his family members having served in the United States Military in some capacity or another.
Rather than being praised for his military service with the term veteran, Micah Burnett would rather receive a genuine “Thank you,” and feels many of his comrades would agree.
He enlisted because he truly felt it was what he was called to do. Although his decision seemed rushed, he urges current students not to rush into their own decisions; he encourages open-mindedness when considering what they plan to do with the rest of their life.
He states that the young generations must stay informed, challenge their own beliefs, themselves, and try to take in as much information as they possibly can.