• If you enlisted, what were some of the reasons that you joined the military? How did you choose your branch of service?
    • I grew up in a small town and my parents couldn’t pay for college nor did they have the knowledge or understanding of scholarships since I was the first in the family to graduate high school, so I chose to join the Military. I initially took the ASVAB for the Air Force, but I would not have been able to go in for 6 months, so I went around the corner to the Marine Corps recruiter and 2 weeks later I was standing on the yellow footprints at MCRD Parris Island.
  • How did you imagine military life before you joined? How did your perceptions change after serving?
    • I had no idea what to expect. My Dad was a WWII Army Veteran, but no one else in my family had ever served to my knowledge. The Marine Corps has a way of changing your perceptions on a lot of things. I definitely gained confidence, discipline, integrity, and loyalty to the Corps.
  • What was basic training like?
    • During the 2 weeks before I left for boot camp, my recruiter showed me videos of what to expect, but it failed in comparison to what it was actually like. I was into the arts and music throughout school and never played any sports, nor was I athletic in the least, but Marine Corps boot camp definitely forces you to either challenge yourself or fail and failure to me was not an option. The Drill Instructors did what they were supposed to do, they push you to your maximum potential because only those who succeed can pin on that eagle, globe, and anchor and call themselves United States Marines.
  • Can you describe a funny moment from boot camp?
    • I had several funny moments, although my mother didn’t think they were. I think one of the funniest to me was, we did training where we would practice jumping out of a non-operating helicopter that was on the ground. I wrote a letter home and told my parents about jumping out of a helicopter, but inadvertently omitted the part about it not being in the air. My mother wrote me back saying she did not like the fact that her baby was jumping from helicopters. When my parents did the PI tour during family day, she saw the helicopter and realized it never was in the air, but still did not think it was funny, although I did.
  • What are some of the things you remember about adapting to military life?
    • I had never been away from home except for one band trip to Canada. It was hard for me to be away from my parents and family.
  • How did you stay in touch with family and friends back home?
    • We had a very close family so I stayed in touch with most of them during my time in the Marines. I was close enough that I could visit and we called and wrote each other letters, most of which I still have.
  • What are some things you remember most about your deployment?
    • The fear of the unknown. Going to a place far from home with totally different culture, sounds, and smells was unsettling at first, but after being there for a while you learn to adapt to all the changes and get into a new routine.
  • Can you describe how you felt coming home from combat?
    • I felt a little out of place. Even though Desert Shield/Storm didn’t last long, it still took a while to get acclimated back home. Life definitely took on a whole new meaning.
  • Was there anything you especially missed about civilian life?
    • Not while I was in the Marine Corps.  I would have made a career out of it if I had not broken my ankle and had to get out. Working at MCAS Beaufort and MCRD Parris keeps me connected to the Corps I love and miss.
  • Is there someone you served with that you remember fondly? Can you tell me about him/her?
    • I still keep in close contact with a lot of my Marine Corps brothers and sisters. Five of the girls I was in boot camp with and stationed with get together every few years for a reunion. I was excited to have them here in Beaufort a few years ago to take a stroll down memory lane at Parris Island, where it all began for us. I also keep in contact with the Lt who promoted me to Corporal while at MCAS Cherry Point.
  • What are some fun things you and your friends did together while you were deployed?
    • While on the All Marine Volleyball Team, we had a chance to play in a tournament at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany during Theresienwiese, better known as Oktoberfest. We had a chance to dance, drink, and have fun with the locals after the tournament.
  • Did any of your military friends play pranks on each other? Can you describe a funny one?
    • When I was stationed at MCAS Cherry Point, I rented a house in New Port and had several friends who were stationed at New River and Camp Lejeune who would stay with me over the weekend. One morning I got up and went outside and my car was gone. I was one digit away from calling 911 when one of my friends handed me my keys and told me she had moved my car to the neighbor’s house.
  • Did you ever get caught breaking any rules? Did you ever get away with something you weren’t supposed to do?
    • During my time on the All Marine Volleyball Team, our home barracks were at Quantico, right next to the All Marine Wrestling Team. Since we were in the gym training at 5am every morning, we had a 9pm curfew. A few times at 9:30, some of us would sneak out of our windows to go hang out with the wrestling team. We never got caught.
  • When did you leave the military? What was that process like?
    • December 9, 1993. I was only in for 8 years, but it felt like I was leaving family again. I did not want to get discharged. I felt like the military had discarded me due to my service connected injury. I was bitter and sad all in one.
  • What were your first few months out of the service like?
    • I was lost. I put my all into the Marine Corps and didn’t envision getting out after only 8 years, so I had no idea what to do with my life.
  • Was there anything or anyone that helped you during the transition from military to civilian life?
    • The resources that are available to Military members now were not readily available in the early 90’s. There were no outbound or TRS classes that I recall.
  • Do you have advice for others transitioning out of the military?
    • Save while you’re in. Have a plan in place long before your discharge. Seek resources, especially the VA.
  • How do you think your time in the military affected you?
    • It made me proud to call myself a US Marine, it made me disciplined and confident. I’m told all the time that I walk like I’m marching and I take that as a compliment.
  • What did you learn about yourself?
    • I learned that even in the most difficult moments, you have to constantly challenge yourself and never give up.
  • What are some of your hopes for the future?
    • I hope my children always carry the same values I instilled in them from my time in the Marine Corps, honor, courage, and commitment.
  • What phrase or word will never be the same now that you served?
    • You (Ewe)? Do I look like a sheep to you recruit? I never knew what a Ewe was before.
  • When you were first discharged, what are some things about civilians that were difficult for you to deal with?
    • Americans who don’t say the pledge of allegiance or who say that Military and Veterans get too many benefits.
  • Is there anything you wish civilians understood about military service?
    • We fought for this country. We fought for your freedom. You are able to spend time around the Thanksgiving table with your family while we are out fighting thousands of miles away from ours. We deserve to be taken care of by the Government we protect.  Honor our fallen on Memorial Day. Honor our Veterans on Veterans Day. Appreciate our active duty military on Military Appreciation Day. And please, give us all the respect we deserve.
  • What are some habits you developed in the service that you like?
    • Getting up early to start the day. I never sleep past sun rise.
  • What are some things you miss about being in the service? What are some you are glad to have left behind?
    • The comradery. I don’t feel I left anything behind. All of my experiences were good, except the ankle injury, but that was not the military’s fault.
  • What has been difficult to communicate to family and friends about your military service?
    • That even after having a child, I would have still gone overseas to fight for my country if necessary.
  • Do you have advice for military couples?
    • Times will be tough, but you have to be tougher. The distance will be tough, but it doesn’t last forever. Seek counseling when needed. Don’t give up on each other.
  • If you have children, what do you want them to know about your military service?
    • That the values I was taught in the military are what contributed to me being the best mom to them and that I hope they keep those same values with them as they grow and succeed in life.

 

Thank you Janice for your service.