• If you enlisted, what were some of the reasons that you joined the military? How did you choose your branch of service?
    • For myself I enlisted into the Marine Corp to get a change and some type of direction in my life at that time. I chose the Marines because my dad fought in World War II and he is someone that I deeply respected and loved.
  • How did you imagine military life before you joined? How did your perceptions change after serving?
    • I grew up during the Vietnam War and most young men were being drafted into the service and at the time it was not popular war. My perception did change that most people in the military want to serve and protect their country. The military gives people the opportunity to accomplish personal growth experience such as self-improvement. Being in the Marines it instills strong values, selfless service and loyalty and the leadership skills to benefit once you enter the civilian community.
  • What was basic training like?
    • When I went through boot camp it was everything one has heard or has read in books. I was 27 years old when I put my feet on the yellow footprints at MCRD. My drill instructors called me the old man. The yelling and the physical training occurred every day and it was difficult, but losing my freedom was the hardest endure. In the end Marine Corp boot camp was the most challenging  experience both mentally and physically.
  • Can you describe a funny moment from boot camp?
    • No! I do not remember any funny moments in boot camp. Once I was in the fleet there would always be one Marine saying how he missed boot camp. I was not one of those Marines!
  • What are some of the things you remember about adapting to military life?
    • Every morning getting up at 5:30 in the morning. Working most days 10 hours and long deployments from home.
  • How did you stay in touch with family and friends back home?
    • I would always write letters to my family and give them an update on deployments. On my return from deployments I would take leave and visit my family and friends.
  • What are some things you remember most about your deployment?
    • My first four years in the Marines I was attached to a grunt unit and we were deployed quite often and I really enjoyed my time with 7th Marines. One time in Somalia myself and group of Marines would jump off these high cliffs into the shark infested ocean to test our daredevil skills.
  • Can you describe how you felt coming home from combat?
    • I was angry and had a bad temper when I got home from Iraq. The VA helped, setting me up in classes. My wife was the one who helped me understand that I had a problem and that I needed to speak to someone professionally.
  • Was there anything you especially missed about civilian life?
    • I missed staying in one place longer than three years. In my military career most of the time I always moving to another unit.
  • Is there someone you served with that you remember fondly? Can you tell me about him/her?
    • Early in my career when I was a Private First Class with the grunts and worked for this captain who would always challenge me to be the best Marine. Later in my career our paths crossed after twenty odd years and he remembered my name which to me was quite shocking. At the time my rank was Master Sergeant and he was a Major General.
  • Did you ever get caught breaking any rules? Did you ever get away with something you weren’t supposed to do?
    • I can’t recall getting caught breaking the rules. I did get away bring in the opposite sex into my barracks room which was not allowed at the time.
  • Did you ever learn something about a fellow service member that surprised you?
    • I had a corporal work for me and his last name Gates. The Marine was very good working on computers. One day I asked him if he was related to the Gates who started Microsoft. It was his cousin. Since I knew that Gates was getting out my next question was did he plan to work for his cousin at Microsoft. It was at that time Corporal Gates showed me a letter from IBM for a job offer $90,000.00 in 1997. He had no college experience but he did have a technical skill and his last name was Gates.
  • When did you leave the military? What was that process like?
    • In May 2007. Went to the all the classes wearing a suit and tie.
  • What were your first few months out of the service like?
    • It was hard! I had some great interviews with good companies but most wanted me to move and I was not willing to move my family. The local interviews said I was over qualified for the position or they hired some else. After five months departing the Marines, I finally got employed working as a team leader at a local grocery store. I really enjoy my time employed with this company. Three months later I was hired by Northrup Grumman and doubled my salary.
  • Was there anything or anyone that helped you during the transition from military to civilian life?
    • Just the Transition classes that the Marines offer at Camp Pendleton.
  • Do you have advice for others transitioning out of the military?
    • If one has a special skill it will be easier. It is good to know someone who can help you get your foot in the door. Today the military has the G.I. bill to help for college tuition. I did not have that when I retired in 2007. And sometimes being at the right place or time can help.
  • How do you think your time in the military affected you?
    • My time in the military has taught personal skills such as confidence and self-discipline and leadership skills.
  • What did you learn about yourself?
    • Work hard in everything you do in life. Work hard to be better husband, better employee, better friend, and to be better person.
  • What are some of your hopes for the future?
    • Retirement and traveling with my wife.
  • What phrase or word will never be the same now that you served?
    • Used the term Devil Dog throughout my career motivating my young Marines.
  • When you were first discharged, what are some things about civilians that were difficult for you to deal with?
    • Some supervisors had no leadership skills. Poor communication skills.
  • Is there anything you wish civilians understood about military service?
    • The great sacrifice on the military families from deployments. I do know that some civilians are also away from their families due to their job. But in most case the civilians are making good salaries to compensate for their travel.
  • What are some habits you developed in the service that you like? What are some that you dislike?
    • I still enjoy getting up at 5:30 every day. I take great pride in everything from my job to supporting my family. I still go to the gym and workout. I always like to be early for work and for any event that I might attend.
  • What are some things you miss about being in the service? What are some you are glad to have left behind?
    • I miss the camaraderie with my fellow Marines we had while serving our country. Having someone watching you back in a life death situation. The sense of pride and the identity of being a Marine. I do not miss all the deployments and being away from my family.
  • Do you have advice for military couples?
    • Marriage is hard in the civilian world but in the military it is twice as hard. Working long hours at work plus all the deployments in the military puts a great stress on the marriage. Communication is the number one priority to make a marriage work. There has to be teamwork between couples. Military members must understand to make a marriage work they both have to put 100% effort for the marriage to succeed.