Greysen Hubbard began his freshman year at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway in the fall of 2020.
The former football player and kicker / punter of the El Dorado high school football team was spreading his wings and entering a new phase of young adulthood in a special and uncertain time.
The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) was raging and UCA, like other higher education institutions, was navigating uncharted waters as it welcomed students to campus, while instituting precautionary measures to help ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff and provide the best educational experience possible.
Aside from the global pandemic, Hubbard had doubts about his new role as frosh.
He had told at least one member of his family about the possibility of studying meteorology, but something about college life was not clicking.
Another vocation took him in another direction, a vocation too strong to be ignored.
Hubbard finished his first semester at UCA and it was during the Christmas holidays that he surprised his family – his mother Heather McVay; stepfather Marty McVay; Father Shane Hubbard and sisters Bella Hubbard and Taylon McVay – with unexpected news.
“I tried college. It wasn’t for me. I joined the military because it’s, deep down, something I’ve always wanted,” Hubbard said. “The idea always scared me, but I just put my faith in God’s hand and took the plunge.”
Her mother, who is El Dorado’s clerk, said she was stunned to learn that Hubbard had been studying the matter for some time and had already spoken to recruiters and decided which branch of the U.S. military would suit her best. .
“I had never heard of him wanting to join the military before and I asked him, ‘Greysen, honey, are you sure?'” McVay recalls.
“He told me that he prayed about it and I could see that he was serious and that he had already made his decision and I told him that we will support him and what he wants to do “she said.
Hubbard had already made arrangements to enlist in the US Army and nine months ago the 19-year-old left for One Station Unit Training (OSUT) in Fort Benning, Ga., Where he attended a 22 week infantry training cycle.
“I graduated a few months ago and am currently in my first duty station, which is Fort Riley (in) Kansas,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard earned his marksman badge and amassed a wealth of experience, skills and personal development in a short period of time.
“Not only did I acquire lifelong brotherhood with the guys I went to base (training) with and those in my current unit, I also grew in many ways as a person,” a- he declared.
“I’m definitely a lot more mature than before. My mom can attest to that,” he continued with a laugh. “I also have a new appreciation for all the little things in life and have learned not to take things for granted.”
Hubbard is awaiting his next mission – a humanitarian deployment to Lithuania – and is expected to ship on November 15.
Upon his return from Europe in March, Hubbard said he would move to the US Army Airborne School to learn techniques on how to safely jump and parachute from planes en route to his next goal of becoming a parachutist. .
When asked about the plans after airborne school, Hubbard said he would simply fulfill his contract with the military “and see if my experience leads me to sign another contract.”
Hubbard said he was proud to be a part of the base of the men and women he admired from childhood, not only those who make sacrifices to serve their country, but also their brethren who serve local communities.
“Growing up, I always had a deep respect for the military and the police. They put their lives in danger every day for our rights and our freedom,” he explained. “I felt a certain obligation to earn the rights (that they) fought for me to have.”
Hubbard said he intended to render this service by continuing to fight for the freedoms of generations to come, as it has been and is being done for him and his fellow Americans.
“Joining the military is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life,” he enthused.
Hubbard said his most memorable military experience to date is completing basic training and climbing Honor Hill, a ceremonial tradition in which infantry and women are inducted into a brotherhood of soldiers in the United States Army. ready for battle and receive their Cross Rifles.
“It is a place that you visit as a rite of passage that only infantrymen have the opportunity to experience,” he explained.
Hubbard advises anyone considering enlisting in the military to thoroughly investigate and explore their options.
“Please do your research! Go through all the jobs in the military occupation before you make a decision and have fun,” he said, punctuating his statement with the age-old military war cry: ” HOOAH! “