The scariest moment of Corporal Brian Ward’s life happened at “the farm.”
The Iraq War veteran told Steele High School history and government students Wednesday of serving on a U.S. Marine Corps detail on the front lines, and of watching a wave of heavily armed comrades go into a farmhouse and never return.
Ward shared the tale on Veterans Day, which followed the Tuesday’s 240th anniversary of the USMC. The branch was founded in 1775 by the Continental Congress.
About 75 teenagers listened intently as Ward talked about the corps’ history, the rigors of boot camp, of learning to “do everything harder, not smarter” as a credo of the corps, and of discovering an enemy weapons cache in Iraq.
“Ask yourself: Would you be willing to give up all of it, everything you love, to serve?” he told students. “If you say yes, you’re really saying you’d sacrifice everything including your life.”
Ward — Department of Defense employee, St. Joseph volleyball coach, and volunteer minister at Open Door Church — served one tour of duty overseas. He is proficient in use of 23 weapon systems, including a type of machine gun that can launch more than 100 explosive rounds per minute.
He told Steele students to thank a veteran.
“You have all these options in front of you because people have fought and died for you,” he said.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Corporal Brian Ward speaks to students about taking pepper spray to the eyes during boot camp and how that exemplifies the sacrifice men and women in uniform are expected to make.