Army veteran Rickey Hicks was a young boy when he knew he wanted to serve his country.
"I was 10 years old when 9/11 happened. Even though I didn't know what was happening at the time, as I grew older, I understood more of what was happening in the world and all that stuff. That had an impact on me," he said.
At 17 years old, the Memphis native made the decision to join the Army. His decision took him to Fort Jackson in South Carolina, Fort Belvoir in Virginia, Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, and Fort Hood in Central Texas.
He was deployed to Iraq a year and a half after enlisting.
While overseas, Hicks said he worked as a geospatial engineer. He helped analyze terrain and make maps to give his leaders an idea of what they'd be getting into on their missions.
"Being in Iraq, you form this special bond with the people that you work with. You form a camaraderie with them all. It's a really cool thing to have, something that you can't get anywhere else," he said.
Hicks returned to Fort Hood in September 2011. And like many others returning from deployment, he had a hard time adjusting.
"Every soldier goes through this. I get home, and it's just like, 'Well, is there another deployment coming up?' A lot of people don't understand that. 'Why do you want to deploy so much?' It's something you have to experience yourself," Hicks said.
In May 2013, Hicks said he was honorably discharged from the Army, but he knew he wasn't done serving his country.
"My service to the country, I felt, was just not over with. The conflicts going on right now in the Middle East ... I want to be a part of. I want to help in dissolving that," he said.
He enlisted in the Army Reserve a year later.
"The job force around is very challenging, and I just felt my duty wasn't over with," he said.
Hicks is 25 years old now and has already completed two years of his six-year contract with the Army Reserve. But he doesn't know what's next for him just yet.
"My main path that I'm on right now is school. I could expand my career in the military," he said. "There's a lot of options ahead of me, just have to figure out which one I want to take first."
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