Why I serve

In an upscale Michigan suburb, Spc. Nathanael M. Spraggins enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle growing up.

As a child, if he wasn’t playing with his G.I. Joe figurine collection with his friends he was most certainly watching one of the many war-themed movies he owned.

With a high interest in the military it seemed as though Spraggins was grooming himself to become one of the best Soldiers in the military.

Yet as Spraggins grew up, he eventually grew out of his G.I. Joe phase and boxed up his collection.

Although his figurines were out of sight, his dream of becoming a Soldier wasn’t out of mind.

Time passed and it wasn’t long until Spraggins had to really think about what he wanted to do with his life.

As the son of two well-established medical practitioners, Spraggins was fortunate enough to have many choices after high school graduation concerning his career path.

“When I was in high school I talked with my parents about what I should do with my future,” Spraggins recalled.

“My father wanted to me to major in pre-engineering,” he said.

After a slight push from his parents he decided to heed their advice and attend a university.

However, after just one semester of pre-engineering at Lawrence Technical University, Spraggins knew that was not what he wanted.

“I decided to take a break from school to find myself,” he said.

After a year and a half of working just above minimum wage at retail store and a postal service store, Spraggins made the decision to enlist.

“My parents were confused and disappointed at first because of the war going on,” he remembered. Spraggins would be the first in his family to serve his country.

His father wanted him to go into engineering and his mother wanted him to be out of harms way, he said.

“I wanted to join so I could travel and see the world and do things I have never done before,” he said. “But also to prove to myself that I can make it on my own.”

“Ultimately, it is my decision because it’s my life,” he said.

Now a Calvary scout with the 4th Brigade, 4th Special Troops Battalion and with two and a half years under his belt, Spraggins is living the dream he had as a child.

“I have definitely become more serious as a person and have grown up since I joined the Army,” he said.

“I always used to take things for granted. But I have seen where other people come from, where other people live,” he said. “I have learned much about appreciating what I have after seeing what so many people don’t have in this world,” he continued, referring to some Iraqis he met during his deployment.

While it may not be pre-engineering, Spraggins’ parents have supported his decision.

“I think my parents are proud of what I have accomplished in the military. I made this decision (to enlist) on my own and have stuck with it,” he said.