5 min read

Personal Biography

Personal Biography
Joshua Kuebler - Author, Strength for the Journey

I felt it important to share my background, for those of you who do not know me, and perhaps more details for those who do.

I am writing on Applied Philosophy, Mysticism and Aesthetics, so it begs the question(s): Why read what this guy has to say? What qualifies him to write on these topics? Hopefully this biographical sketch will answer these valid concerns.

Without further ado, let's be off!

I was homeschooled K-12, so I had a great deal of time to visit and listen to older generations during my formative years. I was always a kid going on 30 (much to my consternation), and had a hard time fitting into my age group. I was more interested in old books, history, theology, philosophy and the like, than in playing with my peers.

As the eldest of 13 siblings, I was certainly kept busy with domestic chores (something I greatly appreciate now, because it built my work ethos), but when I could, I had my nose in a book, or my ear to some senior citizen.

Unfortunately, I suppose I developed a reputation as something of a prig, but I was in a difficult spot... I just didn't understand 'being a kid'. I worked very hard on communication and putting myself into the shoes of others, in an attempt to rectify the situation.

My quandary led me to consult the eldest generations around, largely WWII veterans and their spouses, although there we also a few older yet. This being the case, most of my early worldview was given to me by that generation now referred to as the 'Greatest Generation'.

As with anyone nearing the end of their physical life, these wise men & women were seeking someone to mentor in order to pass on their experiences in life.

Being Christian, I spent a lot of time around pastors and elders, most of whom I informally apprenticed with for years. It was widely expected that I would go to seminary and become a theologian or pastoral counselor, and I was given a great deal of preparation to that end, for which I am eternally grateful.

But, when the time came for me to embark on my calling, shortly after 9/11, I joined the Marines. Nearly all of my favorite mentors had served in combat, either during WWII or Vietnam. So I felt it a necessary preparation to be able to work with anyone, anywhere. When given a choice of jobs, I selected to be an Arabic linguist, primarily because I understood that it would be easy to learn Hebrew afterwards (this is indeed true, in case anyone is curious).

In March 2002, I stepped onto the yellow footprints and then 'endured' the 13 weeks of USMC Recruit Training (boot camp), followed by a few weeks of Combat Training, some of the most fun I have ever enjoyed in my life, besides that of an actual combat zone.

I arrived to language training on the hill overlooking the beautiful Monterey Bay, California, and spent about two years in a strict collegiate setting. At this time, my values and morality were severely challenged and I gained quite a bit of experience with the sorts of temptations and frivolities inherent in such an environment. About the only personal rule that I managed to uphold was 'saving myself for marriage', although to that end, I married much too early and had later cause to regret the decision.

I slacked around and was failing my studies, but was given a merciful opportunity to retake my first semester at language school (the Defense Language Institute aka DLI), and finally graduated with top marks (not to my credit, one should probably make A's if one is retaking courses).

I went to Military Signals Intelligence training in Texas for a few months, where I earned top graduate amongst strong competition. As a reward, I was given my choice of duty station (where I would be based for the duration of my 5 year contract). I told my commander to send me to whereever the next deployment was departing from (to Iraq), as, like all those young and inexperienced, I was yearning to test my mettle.

I subsequently went to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and was deployed to Iraq twice from there, the first time to a tiny 'base' located exactly on the Western Iraq-Syrian border, where we were shelled daily (thankfully, they appeared to do it on a schedule) and experienced failed assaults on our location from small arms and vehicle-bourne improvised explosives devices (VBIEDs aka car bombs).

On the perilous journey back out of Iraq, our convoy hit an IED and I was indirectly injured in the process. At the time, I did not realize the severity of this injury, but between this incident, the multiple explosions and the various conditions we encountered in combat, I developed a host of medical issues that plauge me to this day... Tramatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and that mysterious condition variously diagnosed as Gulf War Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, etc.

Upon returning from my first deployment, I was given an opportunity to work as a linguist directly supporting combat operations in Iraq, located in the National Security Agency's site near Augusta, Georgia.

After this experience, I did a bunch of pre-deployment training, including weapons handling, some martial arts (I have also studied Aikido for a while throughout my life) and a variety of other interesting (and sometimes enjoyable) subjects. Then, (this was in 2006) I was sent to Fallujah, Iraq where I worked as the Arabic linguist on a four-man mobile signals intelligence collection team. Needless to say, things got hot quite a bit. RPGs, snipers and small arms fire a daily concern. But despite all of the challenges (and the typical near total lack of sleep), I enjoyed it immensely.

I had set my heart on remaining in the Marine Corps as an officer, but my injuries prevented this. I was heartbroken (it sounds ridiculous to me now) and completely unsure of my new course in life. I moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where my then wife was working in the Air Force. Her commander graciously recommended me for a clearance-based position at USSTRATCOM. I worked for SAIC as a contractor, doing All-Source Intelligence Analysis pertaining to Cyberwarfare, Information Operations, etc. I was tasked with hunting down Arabic-speaking terrorists on the Internet, to summarize in an unclassified manner.

As my contract was expiring, I took a job teaching Air Force flying linguists Arabic and intelligence skills, ended up developing curriculum, instructing and testing for a few years. Then I migrated into IT (an early hobby of mine) first doing systems analysis, systems engineering, software development, etc. Finally I landed in Information Security, got certified (CISSP, Security+, etc) and continued in that vein at USSTRATCOM, taking a government employee position as a GS-12 until 2014.

My health worsening, I moved back home (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania) to be near family, and worked briefly in the financial industry ther until I could no longer sustain working life. I went through a difficult time (to put it mildly), lost my son (from the divorce) and have finally ended up in Colorado, where I now live with my wife and two daughters, who I am homeschooling.

Throughout the course of my life, due to my early pastoral apprenticeship, and perhaps due to the personal hell I have endured, I have informally helped people with their personal problems. I will never betray anyone's trust, but will refer to these experiences (very generically, so as not to betray) in my writings.

I work to apply the philosophical principles I believe in to daily living. This is no easy task, and I have surely not perfected it. But I feel impelled to share what I have learned, as giving back in small measure to those who have selflessly mentored me, sadly an often stubborn, ignorant and ungrateful person.

That's my story, I hope you found it at least interesting, if not constructive.

God bless you, may Divine Light ever aid you to keep strong and live your personal ideals in the face of adversity.