Gabriel Posey joined the military on a whim when he was studying English literature at Temple University.
"It was impulsive of me to join the military," he told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff for the Standing Up for Heroes series. "I wanted to do something noble. My parents and a couple of people in my family had joined the military previously."
Posey, 32, was in the military for nine years. He was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and recently came home from Afghanistan, where he was a staff sergeant.
He was grateful that no mortars ever hit his base. There were many around nearby Bagram. It could be frightening.
"I had some fear. A lot of times it was during down times when I wasn't working or wasn't focusing on the job," Posey said. "I would think about what was going on. We had a lot of mortars that would come in during the night, all times during the day."
One of his greatest accomplishments in Afghanistan, he said, was making friendships with Afghan soldiers.
"I worked with a lot of those soldiers, shoulder by shoulder," Posey said. "Shana by shana, they call it. And I think that they had a certain idea of what American soldiers were and then going over there and my personality and just working together with them, they seen a different side of America, of Americans."
Every couple of weeks, Posey, who comes from Melrose Park, Pa., checks in with the soldiers he was in charge of to see if they're OK. "See if they're focusing, if they're not having any problems with the transition from Afghanistan back to the States," Posey said.
The transition, Posey said, is a difficult one.
"When we're in Afghanistan, we worked really long hours, we always had something to do. If we weren't sleeping, we were working," Posey said. "So when you come back to the States, you don't have as much work. You're left alone to your thoughts and you're thinking about your family and your future or what happened in the past. You feel restless and what you need to do is you need to find something to break that restlessness."
Posey said he loves playing soccer and basketball, going to museums and playing music, but his real passion is movies. He hopes for a career in the entertainment industry. He is an aspiring screenwriter but he has never done any work for film or television.
For ABC News' Standing Up For Heroes series, Bob Woodruff is teaming Posey up with two-time Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks. Hanks, known for such films as "Saving Private Ryan" and "Philadelphia," will mentor Posey so he can learn the tricks of the trade from one of the most well loved men in the industry.