FORT HOOD, Texas — If you asked 100 soldiers why they joined the Army, you’ll likely get 100 different answers.
Sgt. First Class Kenneth Broadnax is a proud soldier serving in the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade.
Set to retire after decades of service, he has never forgotten why he joined in 1987 after growing up in Los Angeles.
”I was in a gang at 13-years-old and all I did was fight,” said Broadnax. “I got kicked out of LA school district and they sent me to Inglewood as a Crip in a Blood area. So, I was tough. I grew up really tough.”
While living with his grandmother as a senior in high school, Broadnax got into a terrible altercation with a rival gang that nearly ended his life.
It was a final straw that led his grandmother to make a decision that would shape the man he would become.
”My grandmother, the day after I graduated high school, took me to the MEPS station in LA and said, you're joining the Army,” said Broadnax. “Well, she said your joining the Air Force because grandfather’s Vietnam career was in the Air Force.”
He chose the Army as a final act of rebellion and served until 1994.
Pursued several paths as a civilian before reenlisting nearly 15-years later.
”I decided to come in in March of 2009 at over 40 as a Private First class,” said Broadnax.
Now he is weeks away from retirement, having left a lasting impression on those who have served alongside him.
”We are fortunate to have had a great teammate such as Sergeant First Class on our team and truly, when departs this organization, he’s going to be missed by many,” said Maj. Timothy Peters, who is serving with Broadnax in 1st Cavalry Sustainment Brigade.
A legacy Broadnax credits to his late grandmother and he has a message for the woman he says saved his life.
”Thank you,” Broadnax said. “If it wasn’t for you, my brother Michael and I wouldn't be here. Thank you and we love and miss you so much.”
Broadnax served in Desert Storm and Afghanistan and after an Army career that took place over 5 decades, he is finally set to retire but plans to continue serving his fellow soldiers in Colorado.