How Life and Career Cannot Go Together: Part 1

Hopefully Part 1 will give you a little more background into my thinking and journey in pursuit of my career and help set up the dichotomy between work and life I wish to draw.

 Back in 1999 when I was five years old, my parents tell me, I went around talking about the “campaign”. The concept was as clear as can be in my little mind and I scribbled with pen and paper, before I could actually write, making plans for the campaign. Needless to say I’ve always been someone with a mission in life – or at least saw themselves as having one.

A decade later I was progressing through high school unsure about what I wanted to do with my life. I loved a ton of different things from various sports to math to airsoft to reading. It was quite a struggle trying to figure it out.

todd-quackenbush-997At one point I sat down with a family friend who told me that he thought I had a strong desire to help others, but also a desire for family and community and needed to try and find something where I could combine those passions.

A few weeks later I was in a class on Western Civilization reading Andrew McCarthy’s book The Grand Jihad as we reached about 630 A.D. In that book were a few stories of terrorism and this caught my attention and throughout the next year or so I read dozens of books on terrorism and the Middle East.

Growing up my heroes had been Lord Brocktree, Martin the Warrior, Luke the Warrior, and others from the Redwall Series. G. A. Henty captured me with Winning His Spurs, In The Heart of the Rockies, Beric the Briton, In Freedom’s Cause and many many others (I read the majority of his 70+ books).

Eventually I found my way into the Greek stories of love and war, heroes and villains and the awesome Spartans. As I grew older I read about America’s wars: civil, continental, global, and the heroes and villains of world record.


Essentially, growing up my mind was filled with thoughts of the fight between good and evil, nobility versus dishonor, righteous causes, courageous exploits, and honorable sacrifices. As I  read about terrorism and atrocities committed against innocent and helpless men, women, and children those same old stories resonated in my heart and mind. I decided that I wanted to be in a position where I could say no to what I viewed as one of the most physical manifestations of evil.

I determined going into operations would probably be the most effective way of accomplishing this mission, but first I wanted to get my degree in an area that would give me an understanding of how the intelligence and communication channels worked so I could better understand how that translated into action in the field.

I considered enlisting, but was told that was a bad idea, considered West Point, but went to a regional promotional event and five minutes in, knew it wasn’t for me. I ended up applying to only one school – Patrick Henry College and their Government: Strategic Intelligence Program. 

Part 2 coming soon. I promise!!

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