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BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Joining the military during a time of war is a hard decision for anyone. But despite U.S. forces being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan for most of his life, Spc. Josh J. Arias of Canton, Oklahoma, decided it was the choice for him.
"I knew from when I was a kid I wanted to join the military," said Arias, grenadier for Company B, 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. "Everyone from my home town knew I wanted to join the military."
Arias is currently on his first deployment since he joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard right out of Canton High School at the age of 17.
At home, Arias is a student at South Western Oklahoma State University where he is working his way toward a law degree. In his free time, he likes hog hunting and fishing.
"I'm from a lake town so I enjoy being outdoors," said Arias.
"I figure when I get back I can finish up school, or I can do what I do full time," Arias said referencing his desire to go active duty. "If I do that, I'll put my 20 years in and be done by 37 or 38 since I joined when I was 17."
"I think that if I stay with the military, I'll have plenty of time to get a degree," said Arias.
Arias said he has big aspirations for his military career. He has set his sights on joining the Special Forces. This deployment could very well give Arias the experience needed to make a career decision.
"I've wanted to join the Special Forces for a long time now," said Arias.
"I knew that Arias was a great Soldier because he is always willing to learn," said Sgt. Wes Banks a team leader in Company B, 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry. "When they were handing out school assignment he volunteered for just about everyone."
Arias completed every school he volunteered for, including a 200-hour Dari class. Dari is the predominant language of Afghanistan.