"Okay, here's a bit about me.
I was about 12 years old when I realised I wanted to be a soldier. Some friends and I went into an army careers office to shelter from the rain and the Sergeant put a video tape on for us. Remember those? Video tapes?! Nah, Liam doesn't either...anyway, I digress. I went home later that afternoon raving to my parents about this video we'd seen and how much I thought being a soldier would be a brilliant thing to do. My parents laughed, saying I was just a kid and it was too soon to be making choices like that and besides, wouldn't I rather be a solicitor or a doctor? Someone who earned loads of money?
Well, what did I know, I was just a kid right? So, I did as I was told. Found out what exams I needed to be a solicitor, did the relevant GCSE's and A-Levels and went off to Manchester University. As you can imagine, I didn't last very long. I was bored out of my skull. I'd spend the best part of the last 18 years of my life sat behind a desk, and I was condemning myself to the rest of my life doing the same! I realised then, that I'd only be doing that because my Mum and Dad told me to, to make them happy and to give them something to show off to the neighbours.
Actually, that made me quite angry. I went to my head lecturer and told him how I felt, and, although he insisted I should have a fall back position should the army not work out, he agreed that if the army was what would make me happy, then that was what I should do!
I guess I had hoped that, if I joined the Paras and then the SAS, my parents would be proud of me, being the best of the best and all that, but it wasn't to be. My brother was the only one that came to my 'passing out' parades. They couldn't fathom why I'd give up a promising career for a job where I'd just go around killing people...or end up getting killed myself.
I swore then, if I ever had kids, I would never do that to them and I'd be proud of them regardless of what career they chose.
So, I joined the Parachute Regiment. Everyone used to called me Danny back then. Right up until I started army training and I told everyone it was Dan. It was like I'd suddenly just grown up. I was doing my own thing now and I wasn't a kid anymore. I spent 30 weeks training as a paratrooper and then had four weeks of jumping out of planes. I was with the Paras for about two years before I finally got through SAS selection."