Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Tony Ide, Jr. poised for Active Duty in Afghanistan

06/04/2012

newsimage

Materials coordinator Tony Ide, Jr. admits that it will be hard to say goodbye to friends and family, but when he gets the call that his National Guard unit is deploying for active duty in Afghanistan, he will be confident and ready.  He is a specialist with the 46th Military Police Company from Cheboygan. His unit could be called into active duty in Afghanistan any time within the next six to 12 months.

“Within six months to a year we’re going to be boots on the ground in Afghanistan,” Ide said. “We don’t know when.” Ide has volunteered for an earlier deployment. “I’m pretty excited,” he said. “It’s what I’ve trained for.”

Ide is a 2009 Constantine High School. He took a semester of classes at Kalamazoo Valley after graduation and also began working in the materials handling department for the college, but decided to try the military. “I wanted to do something different,” he said. From March to September 2010, he did active duty training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Ide said his parents were hesitant at first. “When I came back they were really happy after they saw the changes in me,” he said. “It really helped me get ahead of the game.”

Dan Maley, Director of Facilities and Construction Management, said Ide is a valued employee. “We're proud of Tony's military accomplishments and dedication to duty for our Nation,” Maley said. “He represents Kalamazoo Valley Community College very well and is an asset to the Facilities Team.”

Last year Ide competed in the Military Police Warfighter competition. Each state sent its top three contestants. “It’s kind of a big deal,” Ide said. The four-day event included numerous warrior tasks, battle drills and endurance tests. Soldiers endured 11 grueling challenges throughout a 72-hour timeframe, testing them physically and mentally in their technical and tactical abilities. “It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life competition-wise,” Ide said. Ide said he’s gained a lot of confidence through his military training. “Now there’s really nothing you can tell me that I can’t do,” Ide said. “It teaches you to take ownership of things and to take responsibility for your actions. It helped me go from mediocre to wanting to do the best I can.”

In addition to the physical and mental aspects of the military, Ide said he appreciates the camaraderie. “I like the friendships,” he said. “It’s kind of nice sometimes to just be a boy sleeping in the woods, eating out of a bag and not showering for a week.”

Ide said his friends, family and co-workers all understand that he may be called into active duty at any time. The uncertainty can be nerve-wracking, he said. “You just have to stay positive because you never know if you might end up waking up on the other side of the ocean in a week,” he said. While he’s nervous about saying goodbye to friends and family, Ide said he has no qualms about serving. “We’re a good squad,” he said. “We won the best squad completion last year. We’re pretty fast and efficient.”