Vince grew up in Colorado. An unusually bright young man, when Vince was in his early teens he attended a camp for gifted kids from all over the country with full scale IQs of 180 and above who had interests in mathematics, computers, and science. None of the kids in camp came from wealthy homes, so when they prepared to leave camp they did not keep in touch with each other on a regular basis because it was too expensive to do. Vince figured out how to “hack” into a US government communications satellite so that he and his friends could talk to each other by telephone as often as they wanted and there would be no cost incurred by the teenagers. As Vince tells it, everything was going along fine until the FBI came calling at his parents home to discuss the matter with him. The FBI took an extremely dim view of his exceptional talents and quickly shut down Vinces operations.
By the time Vince was 17-years old, he had graduated from high school and attended enough classes at the local community college for a two-year certificate, a solution the principal of his high school had come up with to keep Vince from sliding sideways in his life because the academic curriculum in high school was not challenging enough to keep him interested.
A tall handsome, athletic, friendly, even-tempered young man who was physically fit and ready for serious adventure, nobody was more passionate or a more “gung ho” patriot for the country than Vince. He dreamed of serving his country and making a difference. When Vince turned 18-years old and enlisted in the US Navy, he was already a trained firefighter/EMT.
It logically followed that Vince would be assigned as a communicator to accompany Navy, Marine, Air Force and Army special operations missions, deploying 280-days of the year on assignments that took him to “darkest corners of the world.” Vince loved his job and the thrill and danger of special operations missions. But it was not the dark, dangerous, and extremely violent assignments that triggered Vinces PTSD reaction; it was the missing flag on a casket during a burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery honoring one of their own fallen heroes who had died during a special operations mission.
The apex of heroism is the President of the US honoring the individual in death for the highest level of patriotism possible to the country he served. This is symbolically represented when the American flag is draped over a casket during a burial. Apparently, someone forgot to order flags so there was no flag available at the time of the funeral. Vince was psychologically traumatized when he saw the casket without a flag honoring the supreme sacrifice made in the name of patriotism; the death was without meaning as the man was invisible. The event was a defining moment in Vinces life, remaining the single bitter memory he had of his time in the Navy.
After Vince left the Navy, a mentor gave him a flag that had flown over the National Security Agency, an organization the Vince greatly admired. This single act helped Vince to reestablish the psychological balance that had once been devastated by a single act of omission. He still has that flag to this day.