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DVIDS – News – Wrestler, Soldier and so much more


DVIDS – News – Wrestler, Soldier and so much more

HOHENFELS, GERMANY – “Rock ‘n’ roll” is a catchphrase that Soldiers can often hear Sgt. Josh Wilkinson say, especially when he’s talking about one of his many passions in life. As a military police Soldier with the 29th Military Police Company, Maryland Army National Guard, Wilkinson aims to help people.

“I was not in good shape as an eighth grader,” said Wilkinson. “Going into high school, I started wrestling my freshman year. My first year I went 0-6, but I dropped from 200 pounds to 152 pounds at the lowest. I was dropping weight so quickly that I couldn’t maintain much strength, and I didn’t really have the technique either.”

In a sport as physically demanding as wrestling, Wilkinson said he learned that mental toughness is just as important. So, he pushed forward and stuck with the sport.

“I was just doing it to lose weight, but I ended up really liking the combat aspect,” said Wilkinson. “I noticed that a lot of people that picked on me kind of stopped. I don’t know if it was just from growing up or they were shocked that I had the audacity and versatility to go headfirst into a sport I had never done before. I just kept going and didn’t quit, and that’s one thing that has remained consistent with me.”

After an entire season without any wins, Wilkinson didn’t give up. He got right back to work his sophomore season with great resiliency. He said that success on the mat wasn’t as important as the life lessons he was learning in the wrestling room.

“My sophomore year I ended up going 2-8, so I was excited to finally get a win . . . two actually,” said Wilkinson. “My junior year I went 11-7, and I was ecstatic. I actually got my first gold medal that year, and I wanted to become a team captain.”

Wilkinson went into wrestling with the goal to lose weight, but by the time his senior year rolled around, he had built up momentum. He hadn’t yet made varsity, but he was coming off his first winning season going into his senior year.

“My senior year I ended up wrestling off for a varsity spot above my weight class,” said Wilkinson. “That whole year I wrestled up, and I ended up placing top 20 at the state tournament to finish my high school career.”

But it didn’t stop at wrestling. As Wilkinson was climbing the ranks of his high school sport, he also began learning Jiu-Jitsu, which he says pairs exceptionally well with his military career.

Wilkinson said he has gotten to the point where he feels comfortable teaching classes to people who want to learn, and he intends to do just that during his upcoming deployment to Kosovo.

“I’m not the type of person that starts something not to finish it,” Wilkinson said. “I keep going and going until I can get it right, and I keep getting right until I cannot get it wrong.”

Wilkinson said he expects a lot from his Soldiers just as they should expect a lot from him. They have to continually train in order to be ready for any situation they may find themselves in.

“Just like anything else, we have to live relentlessly,” he said. “It’s a possibility every single day that we may never be able to clock out of a shift. So, we have to train and keep training. The second we stop is when we get complacent, and that’s when bad things happen.”

At the beginning of the year the 29th MP Company was at drill when they were put on COVID-19 orders, said Wilkinson. The unit stayed on orders for a majority of the time leading up to its deployment with Kosovo Force 28 in support of Operation Joint Guardian. With almost no break in military duties and training before heading to Hohenfels, Germany, for a rotation at the Joint Multinational Readiness Training Center, Wilkinson said his team is well prepared.

Throughout each training exercise, Wilkinson can be seen running around and taking charge of each situation. He has prepared his team to handle high intensity conditions and potentially dangerous missions. As he navigates between patients and military police Soldiers, he makes sure his team is training to the best of their ability. His passion for his work comes to light whenever he’s in his element.

All of that passion and energy came from somewhere. Wilkinson shared a peek into his early life when he first realized one of his passions.

“I want to say my love for music, specifically singing, probably started when I was in third grade,” said Wilkinson. “We had to be in chorus because at that time we didn’t really have a choice. I remember singing ‘Proud to be an American’ and, at the time, my dad was deployed overseas with the Navy. When we sang the lyric ‘I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today,’ I immediately started bawling because of my dad. It wasn’t a big deal at the time, but it left a lasting impression on me with music.”

Wilkinson’s love for music was born in his elementary music class, but his taste changed as he was influenced by his uncle who was in a band. As an impressionable kid, Wilkinson started diving into deeper and darker music.

“As I grew up, I started to really like a lot of the heavier, darker stuff,” said Wilkinson. “My uncle sort of got me into the music he liked, so I grew up listening to bands like Slayer, Megadeath and Metallica. Also, he was in a band which had a pretty dope Myspace page.”

Wilkinson’s story, life and career all prove that Soldiers are versatile and aren’t limited in their pursuits in life. The military provides ample opportunities for service members to achieve success in the military and outside of the military. Wilkinson is a Soldier who makes the most out of those opportunities by putting positivity into every aspect of his life.

“I am just me,” he said. “I’m very big on the energy that I get in a room, and I tend to soak that up. So, I try to maintain some form of positivity, and things like singing and wrestling end up being the ways I can release my emotion. I try to commit to my passions as much as I can. I go pretty hardcore with everything that I do.”


Date Taken: 11.06.2020
Date Posted: 11.07.2020 03:03
Story ID: 382498
Location: HOHENFELS, BY, DE 
Hometown: BEL AIR, MD, US