By Rebecca Fiedler
David Kaye is the associate director of athletic communications at Baylor and is also a 2008 alumnus. Kaye began his studies at Baylor in fall 2002 and joined the Army Reserve the summer of 2003, serving as a specialist. He was called to active duty in May 2005 with only two days notice, Kaye said.
“I had two weeks left in my junior year, and they called me on a Friday and said, ‘You’re flying up here on Sunday,’” Kaye said. “So I had to withdraw. Baylor was willing to let me take the finals early, but two days wasn’t enough time. So I just had to wash away that whole semester.”
Kaye spent 15 months in active duty. One of those months he served in Kuwait, another in Uzbekestan and 10 months in Afghanistan, he said. He served with a communications unit, building communications networks.
Kaye didn’t know when he came to Baylor that he would join the military, he said. He was the first one in his family to join the Army.
“I didn’t have an intention of having a military career,” Kaye said. “I always kind of wanted to join the Army Reserve after 9/11.”
Kaye said his experience at Baylor did not affect his service overseas.
“To me it was just kind of two separate lives almost,” he said. “You’ve got different friends, and it’s just a whole different way of life. I tried to kind of compartmentalize it.”
Kaye said when he returned from deployment people asked if it was difficult being back, but it wasn’t, because he was coming back to his old life. He said, however, that through his experience with the military he had grown up and was a different person upon return.
“You can go over there and be immature and not know where you’re going with life, but you’re going to grow up,” Kaye said.
Kaye said coming back to Katy, his hometown, from a place like Afghanistan gave him a new appreciation for what he has.
“It affected me as soon as I got over there,” Kaye said. “The things you see are just crazy. You can never imagine them here. I mean, if you saw some of those things in America, there would be outrage.”
Kaye was married a month after he graduated from Baylor. He met his wife while at home on leave from Afghanistan, and was introduced to her by a Baylor professor. Kaye came to work at Baylor in 2009. He said that there is no question in his mind about his service in the military being something he should have done. Kaye said it changed his life for the better.