A former NFL offensive lineman just enlisted to be a Black Hawk crew chief.
According to ESPN, 34-year-old Daryn Colledge signed an eight-year contract with the US Army National Guard, the longest career contract he has signed thus far.
A former lineman with with Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinal, Colledge plans on going to his 10-week basic training next month and eventually begin training as a 15T, or Black Hawk mechanic. Following completion of his Advanced Individual Training (AIT), he will work on and crew UH-60 Black Hawks based in his hometown of Boise, Idaho.
Colledge, a private pilot, says his end goal is to become a Crew Chief, where he will serve roles such as maintainer, door gunner for combat missions and winch operator for rescue operations.
“This was the best and fastest way for me to get in the air and serve our country,” he said.
While the basic commitment for the National Guard is one weekend a month and two weeks a year, Colledge says he plans to serve about 180 days a year, volunteering for missions whenever he can.
“I’ll do what I did in the league: I’ll grind my butt off and I’ll show that I have a commitment,” he said.
Colledge has had to lose a considerable amount of weight in order to enlist, dropping from 310 lbs to 270 thus far, with 30 lbs to go before he can begin basic training- something he has been looking forward to.
“It’s just a little bit longer and a little more serious,” he said, comparing Basic Training to NFL training. “It’s going to be an awesome opportunity. It’s going to be a challenge to myself. I think basic training to me, it’s not combat. It’s the opportunity to go out and learn how to be a soldier and challenge yourself mentally and physically and try to get the most out of it. It’s just like anything else in the world. You get what you put in, and I get to put everything into it, and I expect to come out of it a changed man.”
Though he wanted to enlist earlier, Colledge stayed with the NFL until he had accrued enough money to ensure his family was financially comfortable. Upon retiring, he revisited the idea of military service, something his family supported.
“I get to give the National Guard here in Boise all the time in the world,” he said. “I get to give them as much as they need and hopefully some more time than I want, and I think that’s a rare opportunity. I get to do this because I want to serve and I want to take care of my country, and I want to take care of the residents here in Idaho. This gives me the best opportunity to do that.”
Colledge will likely enter the military as a Specialist (E-4), due to his college education.
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