Wearing a Cavalry hat, Retired Army t-shirt, and holding his favorite coffee mug, it's obvious that Command Sergeant Major Marshall Allen is a proud solider.
He spent 20 years in the United States Army. And today, he is still serving by volunteering his time for the Texas State Guard.
But this life-long commitment to serving wasn't always in the books for Allen.
"I thought I was going to do three years as a truck mechanic then go back to A&M and get my degree in agricultural education and become an ag teacher," said Allen, 61.
But instead, Allen found his niche in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
"I'd enjoyed the military. I stayed because I liked it so well. But I was thinking, well, I dodged the bullet," Allen said.
Allen enlisted in 1972 during the Vietnam War, but the war ended while he was still stationed at Fort Hood.
Then, Operation Desert Storm broke out.
"At 18 and a half years, here we were headed to war…and there was a great deal of apprehension this time," he said.
Allen left his family behind for a hot, barren six months in the desert.
"It was always apprehensive when we went from one situation to the next because you didn't know what to expect."
But all of the tanks that went in from his squadron came out, and the warrior retired after 20 years of service.
But Allen says it's what he's doing now that is most important to him.
"If you want to talk about heroes, it's those people who volunteer in the shadows...the Texas State Guardsman," he said.
The Texas State Guard is a component of the Texas military forces.
So why is Allen still serving at age 61?
"Because I can, I've been given so much and I can give some back."
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