Africa’s Adventure

David Puckett has been to many places in his career, some do not become the best but it’s for the ones he loves. From Missouri, all the way to Afghanistan and many other faraway places he has been able to make the best out of what has been done there to help and protect others. On February 12, he took a trip that helped him see a different view and would definitely be one he would never forget.

The first trip David ever went to was one he was nervous about, considering he would be going away from what we all consider safe. Being away from his home and family was one of many things that he had to learn to cope with and adapt to, knowing that it would not affect him. David stated, ” The feeling of leaving family and friends behind is something I have learned to deal with while in the service. It never gets easier, you learn to look longer term and realize that it won’t be forever and take one day at a time focusing on the mission and task at hand. When mission and time permits, using the resources of phones or computers can help ease the anxiety or separation although nothing can replace being able to hug or talk with someone in person.” David has always valued the time that he has with his loved ones and friends which helps his mentality when having to leave.

When David arrived in Africa the first thing he did was to go check out what Africa had to offer. One of the many places he went to was beyond what the U.S. has here. Having to be in a place where everything is new can be exciting and bring new light to how you view others and what kind of activities they do. Being able to connect with others to understand what those people are used to in their life is something that he looked forward to and was very interesting. Puckett mentioned, “The environment and culture was unlike any other country I had visited. Of course, with each country; the culture, environment and its people will always be different but in noticing the differences there are also some similarities you begin to recognize in each. The influences on things like food, music, and certain recreational activities have some characteristics from other nations or people because of the past/ history that country may have had with other countries.” While there, experiencing different types of food was one of the things that also brought some fun into what he did as he mentioned later.

While there he did have to do the work he went there to do which consisted of a lot of physical interactions. David said that “The work I did was in conducting joint training and humanitarian assistance to the country forces with nonlocal U.S. Army units and the army of Morocco.” While in Africa there was no community service or volunteer needed but as Puckett stated, “The joint training efforts between all units and countries did empower that country’s military forces.” He found himself with all of the other members there doing the training with him along with the others training doing a lot of other activities training.

The time he was there until he came back was a really “eye-opening” and perspective-building experience. Having the amount of time around that one culture can really make people realize just how small the world is and can affect the way you look at others. David was thrilled to be able to go over and see what Africa had to offer even though it was also a bitter-sweet moment to leave. He was also very astonished about how little he knew about Africa until he learned many things and what they mean. David stated, “The experience of being in different countries has opened my eyes to different cultures and perspectives. As long as the person that is put in that culture has an open and objective as possible mindset to viewing the world from their eyes, they can learn so much rather than being subjective or closed minded. Being exposed to so many different countries, cultures and people has shown me that the world is a much bigger place than many people can imagine and that recognizing diversity in different countries and cultures can help expand the view of the world.”

The winter of 2022 is something that David will always be grateful for and remember along with being able to experience different cultures and foods was something people could only find in Africa. The people were so unique and the places to go see are beyond what anyone could ever imagine. David was so glad to be able to do the work he needed to do and get back to what he loved the most, being with the ones he loves. He could never ask for a different job and is so proud of what he has accomplished within the 20-plus years of serving this country.