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Army mechanic takes pride in support role he played

Courtesy photo
At 17 Brett Kenzy served as a mechanic in the 25th Infantry Division. Today he is a cattle producer and operates a feedlot with his brother, George near Gregory.

This interview posted above is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment, hosted by Lori Walsh.

This fall, Gregory cattle producer Brett Kenzy and his wife Jessy sent their two oldest daughters off to college.

Kenzy reflected on his decision at 17 to enlist in the army. He shares the impact serving as a mechanic in the 25th Infantry Division had on his college career and life in general.

“Dad knew I wanted to go to college, you know the economics there in the late 80s, we were still crawling out of the high-interest rate, low prices hole. You know, dry weather, the same old story in agriculture. He urged me to take a look at the military. He didn’t want me to burden myself with a lot of debt.

I’m quick to admit, I have not stolen valor. I was a mechanic. The way I look at it, I’ve sat on the bench on the greatest team the world has ever assembled - being the U.S. military.

I was a mechanic. That is a support role for the warfighters. The 25th Infantry Division is a light infantry division, so those guys are the warfighters. They are the ones who either get dropped in or swung in on a helicopter or march their way into battle and do the heavy lifting. So, just being with those guys, not being one of them, but just being with them and supporting them, you just take pride in that support role, knowing that it is your job to support them in what they do.

I was a better college student because I knew how hard I worked for that tuition money. I always figured that three years is what I traded for my bachelor’s degree.

I’m sure that a lot of guys I knew and brushed up against did end up in harm’s way. As a mechanic, I did end up in a support role. I’ve carried that through to civilian life. We are all in a support role in this country.

I just think we owe it to those who have sacrificed, 'freedom isn’t free.' That is a cliché statement, but it’s true.”

Lura Roti is a freelance reporter working with SDPB.