In elementary school, we are all asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For most, the response is filled with the typical firefighters, doctors, veterinarians, nurses, and the occasional artist.

As we grow older, we narrow these fields down and set specific goals for ourselves.

While some spend their whole lives chasing their dreams, others are privileged to achieve them early. Such is the case with Cpl. Francis Meighan.

Meighan joined at the age of 19 ad just turned 22 this past Sunday.

He grew up in a large Family and was the second youngest sibling of 10, including four brothers and five sisters.

From his great-great grandfather down to his two brothers, the military deeply embedded into his family.

It was at his brother’s graduation that he first fell in love with the military. He knew then on the spot that he wanted to be apart of it.

At first, his goals were to be airborne, then a ranger, and finally a sapper. He quickly rose to meet and exceed each of these dreams. After completing Airborne School, he was award the Certificate of Achievement.

After graduating from Ranger School, he received the Army Achievement Medal He also earned another AAM for winning the Battalion Best Engineer Team competition. Meighan was excelling much faster than he had anticipated.

If there was one key thing that Meighan could attribute to his success, he stated that it’s his motto of “You always complete what you start.”

Meighan currently works as a Team Leader and Horizontal Construction Engineer in the 618th Engineer Support Company. Within only two and a half years in the military, Meighan was given the incredibly prestigious Van Autreve Award.

The Van Autreve Award is named to honor former Sergeant Major of the Army Leon Van Autreve. This award is given in recognition of the Engineer Soldier of the Year in the Army active and reserve components.

To obtain this award, a soldier needs to be endorsed by their company commander, battalion commander, brigade commander and finally the Corps Commander.

Meighan was shocked and honored to receive this award.

When asked what his family had to say when he notified them, he laughed and replied that his mother was thrilled and his father asked: “So when are you going to start flying?”

Meighan gives a lot of credit for his achievements to his strong support from his family.

“Thank you to my family for always staying by my side, and checking up on me through Facebook. Thank you, Dad, for all the calls, Mom for all the tests and Step Dad for always having a project ready for me to come visit and work on,” he said.

He also thanks his leaders and his soldiers as he couldn’t have done it without them. Specifically Meighan thanks Staff Sgt. Sherman, Sgt. 1st Class Ayala, 1st Lt. Winittington, 1st Lt. Day, Sgt. 1st Class Boyle, 1st Sgt. Barr and Cpt. Smith.

When one soldier is successful, the whole army celebrates.

Thankfully Meighan had great support and leaders that believed in him. Meighan plans on working hard to ensure that he is the best leader that he can be for his soldiers.

When asked about what he felt was the best characteristic for a leader Meighan stated that loyalty means the most to him.

When asked about his goals as a leader he responded with “To try to get your soldiers to excel faster than you.”

A few weeks ago, Meighan was honored at a military ball in Fort Leonard Wood. Meighan humbly walked in knowing he was the lowest rank at the ball, being awarded by 2 Sgt.s maj. and a 3 star general.

So when you have already met your life goals, where do you go? When asked, Meighan stated that in the future he plans to complete his jumpmaster school as well as repel master.

“Don’t be complacent, always push through, show that you are motivated. Opportunities are out there, you just have to be ready to take them.”