Eric Holmes began his journey into the military by attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, in 1980. During his time at the academy, Eric pursued a Bachelors of Science degree in engineering, while being on the football team, Russian Club, and the Finance Forum. Upon graduation, Eric was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry and completed the Army Ranger and Airborne schools. He was then sent to Fort Lewis, Washington where he earned his Expert Infantryman’s Badge and became the Garrison Company Commander at Yakima Firing Center. After a year in the 76th Division, a reserve unit, Lieutenant Colonel Holmes volunteered to go to Iraq. He was assigned to the Center for Army Lessons Learned to study counterinsurgency in Ramadi, Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division. The most important lesson he learned was the success of taking back a community from extremists is dependent on grassroots community involvement.