Name/Rank: SGT. Choi, Jongin "Pat"

Job Title: Sniper Team Leader

  • Unit: Co H 121st INF (ABN)(LRS)

  • Years served: 8 years active duty. 3 years national guard

  • Tours? Total of 3 combat tours: 15 months to Iraq, 12 months to Afghanistan, 9 months to Afghanistan

10 Questions to ask a veteran

1) Why did you join the military?

I went to the recruiting office when I was a junior in high school. I wanted to fly jets however, the air force recruiter told me I needed a degree and it would be a 2 year waiting period before even being able to. I said hell no. I went to the Marines next and I was told I could not pick my job and that the only thing I would get is to be a marine. I said hell no. I walked past the navy office. I said hell no. I went to the army recruiting office and I remember seeing the poster of the HMMWVs the Apaches and the Abrams and there was a soldier standing in front of them. I immediately said I want to be him. I took the ASVAB and scored pretty well and the recruiter said I could choose whatever MOS I wanted. I pointed at the guy and I said I want to be that guy on the ground surrounded by American firepower. He said I could do anything and the Infantry is for the lower scoring candidates and I did not care. I had the paperwork ready but my parents would not sign off on it. A year goes by and I had forgotten about the military and when I was in my first semester in college I felt incredibly bored. I happened to drive by the same recruiting office and immediately told them I want to be in the Infantry and I signed. Years later I am happy I jumped in with both feet.

2) What was your most eventful, yet dumbest decision you have made as a private?

None of these are PG.. lol

3) Not asking you this because your Korean, but how would you feel about going to war with North Koreans?

My home is America and I will gladly destroy anyone who stands in her way. Race/creed/religion all of that doesn’t matter if they mean to harm my home.

4) Boom! Zombie apocalypse . What is your "go-to" weapon?

Definitely a suppressed 5.56 carbine. It is lightweight, holds more rounds, and I am no doctor but zombie skulls will probably be squishy enough for the small rounds to make the desired effect. And of course a machete for those close quarter silent takedowns. 

5) What was your hardest shot in Sniper school?

There really was no true “hardest shot” in Sniper school but the stress factor is what made the graded events so difficult. The “Final Shot” is the event where you are alone and given a random target to identify at an unknown distance. You have a very limited amount of time and you must make your own range estimation and wind call. If you miss then you lose a tremendous amount of points and will be given a very condensed amount of time to make your corrections. Needless to say I made it in my first shot.

6) Funniest thing you have said or heard over the Radio?

There was one mission where we were in Afghanistan conducting a screen for certain units to exfil an objective. It was a 72 hour mission and there were some down time especially at night. So it may be the Asian in me but I decided to sing “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey over company net. The best part was everybody started to chime in and you could hear the echo of people singing and laughing through the valley. 

7) Most Epic War movie or show of all time?

Hands down Saving Private Ryan is my favorite war movie. Steven Spielberg does a great job casting the roles as well as showing what war really does to people. It is not touchy and feely but it is about soldiers who do everything they can to bring a brother home. 

8) How do you relate to Gold Star Vodka?

I relate to Gold Star Vodka by being more than what people perceive us to be. They see me as just a regular American citizen but I put in effort everyday for our community by working as a Police Officer and going overseas as a Soldier. Gold Star Vodka is that alcohol that not only tastes great but also gives back to the Gold Star families where most people tend to forget about. 


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