Army Capt. Dan Meegan: For those willing to work, sky's the limit
U.S. Army Capt. Daniel Meegan, 27, of Rollinsford, N.H., hopes his experiences in Germany and Afghanistan can serve as an example to others.
"If you're willing to work, if you're reaching for it, then the sky's the limit," Meehan said, adding he came from a small town, went to small schools, and is part of one of the largest organizations in the world.
In 2009, Meegan was deployed to Germany before heading to Combat Outpost Baylough - located in a remote area of Zabul Province, Afghanistan - where he served as a ground force commander as a 25-year-old lieutenant in 2010.
While at Baylough, which has since been closed down, Meegan said he supervised 120 people - including 47 U.S. Army Infantrymen, Afghan security forces, a Romanian detachment, three U.S. civilians, members of a U.S. Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team and a U.S. Air Force communications team.
"It's an enormous responsibility that my peers do not understand," Meegan said, adding it was a distinctive mission even though he was one of many soldiers who were given such a vast task.
Meegan said he oversaw the security of about 5,000 people on the outpost, which contained the largest medical facility in the mountainous region near the Pakistani border.
As part of this, he led more than 150 combat patrols, had daily contact with Taliban forces and helped rebuild two miles of road and aqueducts following flooding in 2010, he said.
"It was an incredible, broadening experience." He also had to learn and understand a variety of non-military skills like how local farmers and irrigation systems operated using century-old techniques.
Despite the dangerous conditions, Meegan said he recalls there were many parts of Afghanistan which he considered to be "absolutely gorgeous," especially the rugged peaks of the Hindu Kush which reminded him of the Presidential Range in New Hampshire.
"Given the opportunity, I'd go back as a tourist," Meegan said, adding he cannot determine if or when that may be a possibility.
Following his time in Afghanistan, he returned to Germany, where he was promoted to captain and remained there until 2012.
Meegan returned to North Carolina to learn at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, which began Wednesday and could take 20 to 24 months to complete.
As the course is a requirement for command of a Special Operations team, Meegan said he fully expects to deploy another time, even though the potential location or mission remains uncertain. He added he is more than willing to do his part again.
"I will stay in the military as long as I feel helpful," Meegan said.