Leif was committed to the idea of a military career for many years before he entered the infantry as an enlistee. In high school, he applied for ROTC scholarships, and this is an essay he wrote for one of those applications. it was written when he was a senior in high school at Manhattan High School in Manhattan, Kansas, in early 1993, less than a year after his father retired from the U.S. Army.
Having lived my entire life as an Army "brat" and spent so much time in the presence of officers of the US Army I am very well acquainted with military lifestyle. My family and I have been stationed in Kansas, Virginia, Germany, Japan, Hawaii, Chicago, and Puerto Rico. These tours have allowed me to experience several of the diverse cultures of the world first hand. This experience has simultaneously helped me see merits of other nations and strengthened my appreciation of the freedoms of the United States.
I have lived alongside officers and soldiers during the difficult mobilization and demobilization of Reserve Forces for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Having a recently retired lieutenant colonel for a father and an Academy graduate and lieutenant in the Air Force as my only brother has made the concept of civilian life seem almost alien to me. I find it hard to imagine not being affiliated with government service, if not in the Armed Forces then perhaps for the Department of Justice.
As an officer I could pursue careers in Infantry, Armor, Special Operations, or perhaps aviation. Should I at some later date decide not to continue my military career until retirement I would like to put my training to use in the FBI, DEA, or other such federal agency while remaining a member of the Army Reserve. I feel that a commission in the United States Armed Forces is a position to be respected and I would be honored to serve my country as an officer of the United States Army.
The photo of Leif probably taken sometime in the first half of 1999 in his apartment in Watertown, New York, when he was stationed at Fort Drum, New York.