Once a Cav Scout...always a Cav Scout. My life didn't begin until I became a Cavalry Scout in the United States Army. A decision I made at 17 years old. I explain this in my book...me walking into the recruiting station at 17 years old and yelling "I want to join the Army" at the top of my lungs. It was 2005 when I joined any my recruiter basically promised me that I would go to Iraq. I didn't care...I was tired of Rochester and I knew that I was bigger than my little city in Western New York.
The #1 reason I wrote this book is because I want my story to be remembered forever. Is that selfish...yes. I would even say HELL yes. But why shouldn't I be selfish? How many 17 year old kids can you remember in history that joined the Army to do one of the most dangerous jobs that the Army had to offer? I can guarantee you the answer is 0. There aren't any books, or movies that I know of that feature a black American hero. I'd like to be the first. I have the story to back it up...
2nd reason...This book isn't just about me. This book is about my family and friends. The people who influenced me to be the man that I grow into, and the men who help me while I am becoming a man. I can't tell you how many times I was advised not to join the "white mans Army" in 2005. Today, in 2020 those same men who advised me not to join are paying the "white mans child support" because they made horrible decisions after high school.
My best friend Silas was there for me when I was a stoner in high school. He was also there for me when I got out of the Army and was lost in the world. So I made sure he was put into my book. My group of friends known as the "Birdgang", (which is not a real gang by the way) were my best friends. I was the youngest of the bunch at 19, but they were all in there early 20's and teaching me how to be a soldier as well as a man.
I haven't watched too many military movies that tell the story of a teenage boy going off to fight a war (If you know of one please let me know). Fighting the war in 2006 scared the shit out of my mom and I'm sure all of the other mothers who deployed during that time. I had tears in my eyes when I wrote this because I remember all of my mothers emotions when I told her I was joining the Army, when she found out I was deploying to Iraq, when she found out my deployment was extended from 12 to 15 months, and finally when she found out I was injured.
#3 reason...African American history in the military. We have:
AND THAT'S IT!!!
Where are the black hero's in American military history?!?! When I was in the Army I realized something. Not too many African American's join the Army in a combat MOS. So the group of guys that I served with were special...VERY SPECIAL. So special that we are the only group of African American soldiers who have pictures that aren't in black & white. Let me show you below:
Buffalo Soldiers: 1800's
Tuskegee Airmen: 1900's
Cavalry Scouts in 2007
I joined the Army during an important part of American history. People were still supporting the war, and still wanted revenge for 9/11. I wasn't patriotic...at all. But when I joined the Army I felt like I was making a difference. I felt like I had left Rochester behind and I was part of history. I went to Colorado, I met my best friends, I fell in love and I went to war.
Another reason I wrote this book is to give people first hand knowledge of what it is like growing up in the military. There is a big difference between being in a military family, and growing up in the military. The reader can see that when they are introduced to the chapter called "Shayla". This was my first love and I wanted to impress her so much. This was that teenage love (since I was still 19) that we all look for.
Someone who read the book asked me "David, you were deploying to Iraq in October but you still had to use your friends ID to get into the club in Colorado...how?". THAT is one of the reasons I wrote Cavalry. I'm not the first teenager to go to war. A lot of us had to borrow an ID to get in 21 and up clubs. **Spoiler** I asked that same person "How do you think it felt to STILL have to sneak in the club after what I experienced in Iraq?.
And that's why under my title you see "A memoir about of one man who left home a boy but came back a man". My mom watched her son "Jr" leave home at 18 years old and come back as "David Kendrick, Jr" this combat veteran that had grown up in the Army. And the Army had influenced him to become this man she didn't recognize anymore.
Lastly, there were the best times of my life. I was young, in love, and even though I was in Iraq I was having the best time of my life. When you can say the best time of your life was in a warzone then you know you have some great people around you...