WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – He comes from a long line of service, but he wanted to be different, so he tried to enlist in the Navy.
Bobby Sweeney signed up when he was 28, and he ended up in the Army.
Sgt. Sweeney was in the military for more than eight years, and he said service is not something you boast or brag about.
He said service to country is something you go and do, you lead your troops, and do whatever it takes to bring them all home safely.
“These are all the ribbons, that I received, like this is Iraq,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney’s many pairs of military boots stepped into many countries, including two deployments to Iraq.
“We got incoming, all day long, every day,” Sweeney said.
He said following a horrible first deployment.
“I changed my job, became a mechanic and never saw a tool the whole entire time I was in the service,” Sweeney said.
He said the best assignment he had took him to the air, he said that’s because he’s been an adrenaline junkie, since he was a child.
“I went and joined a carnival with rides and everything and I’d be the idiot, who would climb to the top of the ride, and hook everything up,” Sweeney said.
He said all they jumped with, on the Air Assault Team, was a rope.
“You grab a hold of a rope, it is about this big, and you’ve got gloves on, and you put in between your feet and you just jump,” Sweeney said.
The Air Assasult Team was made up of five men.
“I got to jump out of a helicopter from 100 feet up, and just repel down a rope, best thing you could ever do,” Sweeney said.
The soldiers were carrying 40 pound rucksacks.
“You jump out of the bird, head first, and you are going down head first,” Sweeney said.
They were also packing 12 pound weapons.
“You’d have your M4 in front of you, so you could sit here and shoot at people, while they are coming up,” Sweeney said.
There is absolutely nothing to catch their fall.
“We are not jumping with parachutes,” Sweeney said. “Just down like a bullet every time!”
Keep in mind, they were in control of speed.
“The looser you put it, the faster you go down, the tighter you put it, the slower you go down,” Sweeney said.
He said the days he spent jumping with the team, in his final unit, were the best.
“When I was able to dangle from a rope, it was awesome,” Sweeney said.
Out of all the crests he wore over the years, his final is the one inside his retirement flag case.
“It’s something that makes you proud to be a United States citizen,” Sweeney said.
He said he would still be bailing out of helicopters, if it weren’t for injuries that caused him to be medically retired.
“I loved the service, it was great to me,” Sweeney said.
The home we visited, when we talked to Sweeney, was given to him and his wife, mortgage free, from the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals, in partnership with Bank of America.
He said they love their new house and are thankful to have landed in Wichita.