18X: a photo essay

Chronicling Luke Diamond’s journey from acting to Army Special Forces.

Diamond participates in future soldier training at the Roseville Armed Services Center nearly every Tuesday and Thursday with recently enlisted personnel or those considering enlistment. The program doesn't seek to replace basic training, but rather introduce participants to Army values and principles.

Jack Rodgers

Diamond participates in future soldier training at the Roseville Armed Services Center nearly every Tuesday and Thursday with recently enlisted personnel or those considering enlistment. The program doesn’t seek to replace basic training, but rather introduce participants to Army values and principles.

Jack Rodgers

Luke Diamond’s journey to enlistment as a U.S. Army designation 18X, or Special Forces candidate, is far from linear. He is a Louisiana native from a conservative family who found a second home in the acting and journalism communities in Minnesota. His undergraduate career, which ultimately concluded with a decision to enlist, required that he first look more intently at his family history, grapple with homosexuality, define his priorities in life and find a spiritual path forward. By enlisting in the Army he hopes to better himself as a man, serve others and acquire the authority to deliver his unique perspectives in a way that can one day help shape the face of politics in the United States.

Editor’s note: The photographer and subject of this story had a previously established professional relationship while employed at the Minnesota Daily. Luke Diamond previously hosted the Minnesota Daily’s podcast “In the Know.”