By MATT DANIELL
Like many students, 20-year-old Kennesaw State University student Matt Solons is currently juggling a full class load with a part-time job. But in addition to the everyday stresses of classes and exams, he has something even greater weighing on his mind. As a member of the National Guard, Solons is only four months away from his first deployment to Afghanistan. Anxious but excited about the future, Solon takes a few moments to discuss his military experience up to this point.
Why did you join the armed forces?
“I never thought I’d join the military until two months before I did join. For one, it pays for college. Two, it would be a really nice experience. Three, it’s probably the best thing to do when you’re 18 or 19 years old. There’s so much going on in the world, so you might as well get it over with when you’re young and see what it’s all about.”
Basic training for the army has a reputation for being a difficult process. What did you find to be the hardest aspect?
“They try to break you so they can build you up as a soldier. They take away everything from you. They take away your phone. They take away your life. They cut you off from everybody. All you have are these letters, and you write the most messed up stuff in these letters. And it makes your loved ones think that you hate your life right now, and you want to commit suicide. But you really don’t, it’s just what they think you want to do. So it just messes you up, and it breaks you for the most part.”
What was your favorite aspect of your training?
“For me, it was probably learning how to shoot guns and use grenades and stuff like that. You learn and do all kinds of things that most people don’t ever get the chance to experience.”
What will you be doing once you are deployed?
“I volunteered with a field artillery unit, so they may re-class me to field artillery. But I’ll probably be a radio operator, or I might just drive Humvees around. It just depends.”
Are you more worried or excited going into deployment?
“I don’t really know what to expect right now. I mean, I’m excited, but I know that when I’m on the plane I’m going to be pretty nervous. It’s my first deployment so I don’t know what to expect. I have friends in northern Afghanistan who say that the north is really chill; that nothing ever really happens up there. But southern Afghanistan is closer to Iran, and apparently they get bombed all the time. So it just depends on where I go. Some people love it over there and can’t wait to go back. Some people hate it. Every single experience is different, so that’s what I’m excited about.”