Buckeye Soldier – Episode 4
Mike, filled out some questions I send out as (homework, ha ha). I asked the questions to get the ideas and thoughts flowing. Below are the answers to his questions which I thought were very good and funny.
- Mike’s funny story – My most vivid memory of family was at Christmas before I left for the Army my grandpa was ticked I joined. His view was from the 60’s 70’s kids going off to die in Vietnam, and didn’t like that I was handing over control of my life to the government. I thought it was quite funny and it never bothered me, but man my dad was ticked 🙂
http://nikkoparklodge.com/sightseeing/ What got you interested in joining the service or why did you join the service?
– Backstory – I went to college to be a teacher. I was undisciplined, immature and felt entitled. I was on the 7 years to get a bachelors degree plan ( more focused on the social aspects of college than getting a degree ). I was self aware enough to know to needed help growing up, and with the finances of college.
– My original plan – Join the Air National Guard. My thought ( knowing not much about the military ) was I could join the national guard ( go to basic, get some discipline, and get some extra money to help with school )
– What actually happened – Air Force recruiters wanted nothing to do with a college drop out ( thought I was a dummy ), the Army recruiters were more than willing. As good recruiters do, he convinced me that the only way to get a decent amount of money for school was to go full time for 4 years to get the full college fund.
– Army prep – I remember being worried about being able to handle the mental grind of basic training. I signed up in Oct ( ish ) but didn’t leave for basic until January. So everyday I watched the first part of Full Metal Jacket. I figured if I could get used to that level of yelling, nothing the modern Army could do would affect me. It actually worked too well. The Drill Sgts yelling at me never bothered me, in fact I used to get in trouble for grinning while they yelled, as I thought it was pretty funny.
WHAT ARE YOU SMILING AT HAMMAN, DO YOU LIKE ME? ,etc, etc. etc…
Hanford What is the best and worst things you like about the military?
- Best – Friendships / comradery ( This has helped me understand the importance in my career to build a strong bond with my team )
- meeting different people ( race, culture, different places ). Kelley Jenning story. Met people with so many different viewpoints ( City, Country, Texas, Cali, New Yorkers, Southern, etc)
- Discipline, sacrifice, responsibility
- I like doing things “smarter not harder” and I hate doing things “because that’s how we’ve always done things”. This never sat well with my NCO’s. I learned to listen to orders and accept them. This trait has helped me tremendously in my civilian life, but was not a great fit for the military. Don has called me the devil’s advocate for a reason
http://opsinc.ca/effective-meetings-3-steps-get-time-together Did you deploy anywhere and how did it go on the deployment?
- Overall best experience of my time in the Army
- I deployed to Haiti / Operation Uphold Democracy
- We had ad long weekend so the most of the company was out of town. I happened to be in the barracks so I was pulled to deploy ( only 6-8 of our company was part of this deployment )
- Originally we were supposed to go to the Keys, setup communications link ( packed lots of civilian clothes ), last min change, going in country ( un-band my wall locker and repack FAST )
- Sit and Wait, Ready to go right away. Felt like days sleeping in our HUMVEE’s waiting to go
- Gotta watch 82 go, come back and land, Field Promotions for 82 for flying 1/2 way. Then they got to go home and we took off
- Hit in the head on the when the plane landed
- slept on the ground the 1st night, no mosquito net
- Every night it would rain about 5-6 pm, so we’d wait in our PT’s. Then run under gutters and “shower”
- caravan trips out on the town
- Swimming at Aristide’s beach house
- What do you remember about basic & advance training that you would like to share?
- – Hard work, Long Days, if Haiti was the best experience. Basic and AIT would be my favorite time in the Army.
- PT – scored well on my first PT test. ( Decent athlete in HS, but never a great runner, always more of a sprinter, never a Long Distance guy. Our lead DS was PT nut so he must have had a bet that his company would win High PT in the battalion. He made me run each morning with the “A” group even though my time was a “B” group. At night when everyone else got to shower and write letters, he would bring me to the front of the barracks and smoke me, trying out new techniques he recently learned. He caught me eating donuts one morning at breakfast, so he grabbed a bunch more and made me eat all of them. Then killed me on the run the next morning as he ran me until i threw up.
- After basic, I remember how great it felt to have just a touch of freedom. Being able to walk over to the PX and grab a soda, candybar, etc.. Go watch a movie, etc.. That little bit of freedom felt so good !!! Started learning our job. I don’t remember many ( any ) specifics about that job anymore. But I remember how high the bar was for passing. In school ( HS, College ) passing was a C. I remember we had to get like 95% right to pass a test… I’ve used this method with my kids as I have become a parent. I set the bar high so they learn to stretch themselves and have to really work at it.
- Whisky Workout – I was only 19 in AIT but most of my friends were older.. We bought a bottle of whisky ( not allowed ) and were sitting in the barracks passing it around. One of our roommates went to DS and told him, He found us, called us down to the front of the barracks and started smoking us. But he would one at a time call us up and make us drink Whiskey and Sprite mixed while getting smoked. Working out and drinking are not a great mix and I had to be carried up to bed… Never had a taste for E&J and Sprite since…
What is a memory that still sticks with you?
- One of my favorite memories was playing video games with the guys in the barracks. I could never beat Vinny Clark at NBA Live, but I paid him back on the college football game. Aaron Anderson and I used to have some serious battles with Bill Walsh College football, we’d spend hours and hours on rematches. We had generators to run our comms vans in the field so we would bring a small tv and gaming system and play even in the field. ( Rough life i know )
- Monday Morning Madness… 1st Sgt Dickens instead of long company runs, he would smoke us every Monday morning. It’s funny because if he recorded those workouts he would have been a millionaire selling them to Beach Body.
What is the funniest moment you remember?
- My buddy from HS was at Bragg the same time I was. His barracks were right across from our motor pool. So many days I’d go over there at lunch or break rather than all the way back to my room. His 1st Sgt walked in his room one day when I was there and told me If I like spending so much time in his company he was going to get me transferred to his unit
What is the most serious moment you remember?
- On one of our caravans trips in Haiti we decided to go check out Cap-Haïtien ( we were stationed in Port-au-Prince ). While driving around town, we pulled up alongside of someone in a military uniform with an AK47 ( assuming it was someone from the Military Regime ). I heard 6 M16’s go locked and loaded and things got very tense and very quiet… But he turned left and we kept straight and just like that, it was over. I was very lucky to never deal with any real serious moments like our guys have had to deal with in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
What does your career look like today?
- Currently working as a Test Manager for Honeywell. Smart Energy. We develop smart meters to be deployed in our network on as an OEM product on other companies networks. My team focuses on the automated testing of the FW on these devices.
- My time in the Army has been critical to any career success I’ve had
- I learn to Train, Train, Train
- I learned to build that team comradery
- From my faith I’ve learned to be a servant leader, Just as Jesus showed us, putting others needs ahead of our own. It’s our job as leaders to put our employees needs ahead of our own. They should be able to feel you truly care for them ( and you have to truly care for them ) if you do this, there is nothing your team can’t accomplish.
Closing question, what one thing did you learn from the military that you would like to pass along to your family?
- There are two decisions I have made that have shaped who I am today.
- Joining the military at 19. Helped me on the path to realize what it meant to be a man ( and to stop acting like a boy )
- In my 30’s accepting Jesus Christ as my savior. The Army could only take me so far, it started me down a path but the only way to truly become a man was to become a Man of God ( a kingdom man )
- Growing up I head a hole in my heart, i tried to fill it with good and bad things ( fun, family, career, partying, etc ) but no matter what I tried it was always there. I accepted Jeus as my savior and that void was filled, and now the journey continues to to become a Man of God… Small steps each day..