Sgt. Larry Provost: Commuter Affairs Director serving in Afghanistan
Liberty University employs many military veterans. One of them, Director of Commuter Affairs Sgt. Larry Provost, is currently serving his third overseas deployment in Afghanistan.
Provost wanted to join the Army since he was in the third grade. He credits his upbringing, and a family history of military service dating back to the Civil War, with instilling his sense of patriotism and service.
He said one of the first quotes he learned remains in the forefront of his mind — President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address in which he famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
Growing up, Provost said he was taught the role the U.S. Army played in ending slavery, liberating concentration camps and protecting the U.S. and other nations. He learned that “in America, we have been given so much and service to our nation is not just a job but a calling.”
Provost said that while no one wants war less than the soldier, and he or she will never forget the horrors of it, it is sometimes necessary because of “the fallen nature of the world we live in.”
“Evil exists and the worst thing to do is for good men to stand by while innocent people are being killed,” he said.
His three combat deployments — Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003, Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and now Afghanistan again — have all been very different, but each had their lighter moments.
“In 2002 we were teaching baseball to the kids in the village we lived in,” Provost said. “It was the highlight of the week for them and for us.”
Hundreds of people would come out to watch the games, and American soldiers used their body armor for umpiring gear, Provost said.
“We showed the kids many movies including ‘Cat in the Hat,’ as well as the 2000 World Series,” he said. “The kids came by the hundreds, and they would chant your name as you went through the town. That really made you feel a part of something special.”
Provost said he is honored to be serving his country. His unit, the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is basically “in charge of one of the Provinces.” His duties mainly involve working with members of the Afghan government. Provost said his unit is “an amazing group of people, most of whom are from the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
One difference Provost noticed between his first and second deployments to Afghanistan was the shift in Americans’ view toward the conflict.
“I will say this, I really appreciated that America remembered the events of Sept. 11 in the first year or so after the attack,” he said. “That was the time I first deployed to Afghanistan. I do worry that we are getting apathetic as a people and are forgetting why we are fighting this great conflict.”
Provost hopes to be off active duty in March so he can return home and resume work at Liberty. His father, Larry Provost Sr., is a Liberty grounds employee and Vietnam War veteran, and his wife, Lori, is a Liberty alumna who is an adjunct professor in the Theatre Arts Department, currently on educational sabbatical studying dance education at New York University and American Ballet Theatre.
“We are absolutely impressed and humbled to work with the greatest students in the world,” Provost said.
He asked people at home to pray for him and the rest of the 116th and, “as Christ said, pray for those who persecute us.”
“Pray that we would absolutely be successful in this fight and that our enemies would lay down their arms, go home in peace and turn from their ways,” he said. “Also, it is absolutely vital that people back home not only support the troops but support the mission. There are few things worse than fighting for a nation you love dearly but does not understand or support your mission.”
Views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the U.S. Government or Military.