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“People think of the Army - any type of military - as just another type of career,” Jim said. “But it’s a lifestyle change. Everything changes.”

He already has started to see these changes in Ryan, who is stationed in Japan.

“He wrote me a letter recently thanking his mother and me for everything we had done for him,” Jim said. “He said he understood me a little better now, too. That’s what the military does to you - you have no idea what to expect when you join.”

Jim is sure the work he did training Marine Corps tank drivers when Ryan was young was what drove Ryan to the Marines. But Jim said he believes it was a combination of stories from him and Mr. Krauel that got Ryan interested in military life in the first place.

“I’ve become just like my father,” Jim said. “I could sit and tell stories all day.”