Branch of Service
Where did you serve? Where were you stationed?
Paris Island, SC (Basic Training)
Camp Geiger, NC (Combat Training)
29 Palms, CA
Camp Lejune, NC
6th Communications Bn, NY
Why did you join?
Serve My County and Better Myself
Why did you pick the service branch you joined?
I figured if I was going to “do it” (join the military) I wanted to be in the hardest best branch that would give me the most training.
Do you recall your first days in service?
A lot of yelling and confusion. I later learned it was the military’s immediate conditioning/training in dealing with high stress situations.
What was your job/assignment?
Defense Messaging System Specialist
Were you awarded any medals? How did you get them?
National Defense Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary medal
Iraqi Campaign Medal
Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with Mobilization Device)
Marine Corps Service Commemorative Medal
Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal
Rifle Expert Badge
Pistol Expert Badge
Were you deployed? If so, where did you go? How Long?
Yes, I was deployed a little over a year.
Which war(s), if any, did you serve in (WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Second Congo War, Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Desert Storm, Operation Freedom etc.)?
Do you remember arriving overseas and what it was like?
Surreal, at any time any second could have been my last.
How did you stay in touch with your family/friends?
Wrote letters and called home as often as possible. But letters and packages that my family and friends sent to me took about a month to receive.
Was there something special you did for “good luck”?
What did you do when on leave/ R&R?
Never was able to get R&R, I stayed “in-country” for the entire deployment. When I deployed I was in the reserve portion of my contract and I was told that reservists didn’t rate R&R.
Do you recall the day your service ended?
Yes, very exciting, I didn’t fully believe I was leaving until I was getting on the plane. Throughout my deployment there were many times we were told going home and word changed last minute.
What did you do in the days and weeks afterward, did you have any support?
The first few days I was back we had to sit through briefs which basically said “its ok if your wife / girlfriend cheated on you, you were gone for a long time don’t kill anyone” ha-ha
Did you make any close friendships while in the service? Did you continue any of those friendships?
Yes, made some good friends. Only managed to keep in touch with three.
What stigma have you experienced or seen others experience of being a veteran?
Unfortunately, veterans have been, and will always be devalued and treated unfairly. Although the truth is that veterans are treated much better than veterans who served in the World Wars, Korean War and especially Vietnam. In the past was common for veterans to return to bankruptcy, homes taken by banks, credit destroyed and families left to fend for themselves which created resentment and tremendous strain on marriages and basic family life and in many situations led to divorce and broken homes. Thanks to things like USERRA and other newly established programs do help veterans and give them a better chance of returning to their normal life almost like it was when they were called to action. But it’s still not great…. It’s common to hear about companies / business who ignore USERRA and/or won’t hire or promote a veteran just because they don’t want to deal with possible deployments etc. They view it as an unreliable employee and not for what it really is.
While I was in 29 Palms training for deployment I received a letter notifying me that my health coverage was being terminated due to the fact I was on military leave and was no longer a full time employee. This also meant my seniority in the company was affected, I would not receive the holiday bonus I was entitled to and every other perk I would have received if I was still there was being taken away. Luckily I was aware of my USERRA Rights and I able to fight back and after months of stress I was able to get my employee benefits back.
When I returned back from deployment I was treated like I was an outcast / a trouble maker by my supervisors and that made it so uncomfortable I never felt accepted like I was before my activation. I then started looking for a new job. Looking for work as a veteran and active reservist proved to be harder than I thought. I had more than the required amount of training and experience for the positions I was applying for however I was passed up for all of them. One of the interviewers actually told me that he wasn’t going to hire me just was curious to see just how much the military taught us.