Hard work and dedication can carry individuals on to great achievements in life. Navy Lt. Darren Myers, of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling's Judge Advocate General Office, knows this as well as anyone. He will be joining a special group of colleagues in Afghanistan later this year for a seven-month deployment that will look to establish law enforcement measures for citizens in that country.
It's an extremely important and challenging assignment for Myers, who still laughs at the fact that his first overseas deployment as a member of the Navy will actually be to a desert. He arrived at JBAB a little more than a year ago after previously working at the Washington Navy Yard. He has been a member of the Navy JAG Corps all four years of his career and has developed a real admiration for the area and people he works with.
"I really love what I do and would love to come back to the Washington, D.C.., area when the deployment is over. The people I've had a chance to work with have been fantastic," Myers said. "Law work is really interesting to me.. It's a lot to take in, but you learn a lot at the same time. Not every job in the world is like that, so I consider myself lucky in that regard."
Myers applied for the JAG Corps while finishing up his bachelor's degree at Temple University. Following the rigors of law school, he became an officer and quickly immersed himself with military law. He has not been disappointed with his chosen path, as his time with the JAG Corps has opened the door to other possibilities related to his profession.
"I especially would like to get involved with environmental law. I can definitely see myself going toward something like that in the future," Myers said. "The Department of Defense is making a strong push for alternative energy and we already have ships that run solely on biofuel. The need for people with expertise in this area is there. I'm confident I can make a positive contribution along that front."
Because criminal law has much overlap with the federal penal code, Myers said anyone practicing law with the JAG Corps is guaranteed to experience a lot and become a more well-rounded law professional. The best advice he can offer someone thinking about joining is to keep that in mind.
"The biggest difference between military law and standard law comes in the area of conduct," Myers said. "Military members are held up as examples for others to follow, so it's important that we carry ourselves in an appropriate manner. Aside from that, the law is the law no matter where you go."
Myers has enjoyed every minute of his time with the JAG Corps and is excited about the road ahead. According to him, the task of helping Afghanistan stabilize itself goes much deeper than military forces making strides against terrorist networks like the Taliban. Myers said it also depends on what can be done to establish formidable legal rights that will preserve democracy.
On a separate, more light-hearted topic, Myers finds it amusing that there was once a television program based on individuals just like him. The CBS network series JAG ran on television from 1997-2005. Aside from getting the Navy lingo and terminology right, Myers jokes it did little else.
"Shows like this aren't even close to portraying what really happens at a JAG office on a day-to-day basis," Myers said laughing. "If you have a lawyer out in combat, firing guns and missiles at an enemy, something is really wrong."