“I, _____, do solemnly affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
The above statement is what soldiers recite when they are sworn into the United States military. Miles Darlington, a veteran of many different jobs and levels of service, holds this code in high regard, not just for when he served in the National Guard, but in his everyday life. His experiences have taken him across the globe and the country, from Japan to Florida.
“It’s a lifelong obligation,” Darlington said. Darlington made sacrifices in different ways during his 37 years of active and reserve service. “I’m grateful to not have had to sacrifice as much as some guys, they came back without an arm or a leg,” he said.
Darlington enlisted in the National Guard after high school, starting out as a mortar gunner, advancing to be in charge of six other men. After taking a leave of absence to attend college, Darlington reenlisted as a military police officer. As a member of a military police unit, Darlington trained at Fort Lewis.
His unit was part of a security team that handled a P.O.W mission, bringing home a record number of soldiers. One could call Darlington a “jack of all trades” with the collection of jobs he has held. From MP, he moved on to counter intelligence training to become an observer controller. Darlington also held jobs in a personnel unit, in broadcast journalism and as a teacher.
During his reserve duty time, Darlington took full advantage of civilian life, earning several degrees and holding several jobs. A degree in criminal justice and juvenile corrections led him to a short stint as a corrections officer. He also took a law enforcement job in Wenatchee.
Like most veterans, Darlington was shocked by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2011. “It was traumatic, getting up that morning being glued to the T.V. set … I was thinking, ‘Man, these guys are going to pay,’” he said.
Darlington has enjoyed life after retirement. “It was an adjustment, definitely,” he said with a chuckle.
Leaving the military gave him the opportunity to pursue his love of teaching. Throughout his time as reserve military, Darlington found he enjoyed education. Once he had his master’s degree in curriculum and education, he plunged into educating others.
Darlington has primarily worked for online school programs. He has also taught adult education classes and political science courses at Wenatchee Valley College and worked with students at SkillSource.
No matter what he’s doing, Darlington holds firm to his love of the United States. “I think the bottom line is, I really firmly believe in my country,
I mean shouldn’t we all?”
Tess Fox is a senior at Wenatchee High School where she is the photo editor of the school newspaper, The Apple Leaf.