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Service & Sacrifice: Vietnam to Iraq, 42 years of service

9:49 PM, Feb 7, 2013   |    comments
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Command Sergeant Major Gregg Peck is the longest serving enlisted soldier in the Tennessee National Guard.  He has achieved the highest rank possible for an enlisted soldier and has served three combat tours dating back to the 1970s and Vietnam.

In addition to sitting down for an on camera interview, CSM Peck agreed to answer the following 10 questions about his military career and his life.

1. What one person influenced you most in life?
My mother. We had a bond that few have and she shaped who I am today.

2. Do you feel honored and respected for serving your country?
Yes...lately I have. But it was after 9/11. Before then, back in Vietnam I don't think I was.

3. How can people thank you for your service?
Just a good thank you and a handshake. They don't have to do a whole lot. I still have a $5 bill in my pocket I got when I was on leave in 2005. I was going through the airport in my uniform after a deployment to Iraq. A stranger walked up and wanted to buy me a beer.  I told him I couldn't have one at that time but he handed over the five dollars and said, the first one is on me.  I still have the bill, a little scruffy but I still have it. 

4. How do you honor your fellow service men and women?
I honor them by recognizing who they are and what they done. I don't want them to go through the same thing I did in Vietnam.

5. How do you think this generation of service men and women is different or similar to yours?
They are smarter now. Their technical know-how is impressive.

6. What influence did your military service have on the rest of your life?
It made me a better person.  I don't get too wrapped up in the little things. I'm not a worrier. Nothing bothers me 'cause if you have seen the stuff I've seen what could bother you.

7. Does your family have a history of military service?
Yes. All the way back to 1956. Brother in the Air Force. Brother in the National Guard. Nephews retired from Air Force. I'm the last of this generation of our family that will be in the military.

8. Would you encourage younger generations in your family to join the service?
No. I wouldn't want them to go through what I went through.

9. How has your opinion of war changed?
It changed my opinion of people because what they see on television isn't the same chaos soldiers see.  People form quick opinions without seeing the full picture.

10. How did your military experience shape your religious faith?
I'm not a real religious man but I remember going outside my bunker one night on a deployment and asked I God to show me something. When I said that, I don't know if it was me or what, but in the middle of Iraq, in July, I felt a raindrop. I think that was my sign.

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