November 11 marks Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day across Europe and beyond. Wherever you may be on this 11th day of the 11th month, on the 11th hour, please be thankful to all our Veterans for their service and sacrifice. We would like to take a moment to reflect and honor some of our McAfee Enterprise employees who served.
When were you drafted or when did you enlist/join? What branch of the military did you serve and in what rank?
Shannon Clancy joined October 5, 2003 and was a Major in the United States Marine Corps
Kevin Benton enlisted ten days after high school (mid 1980’s) and was in the US Army as an E4/Specialist
Kevin Suares enlisted in the US Air Force on November 1, 1994, after four year’s he was a Senior Airman (E-4)
Why did you join and why did you pick the service branch you selected?
Clancy: I had always had a niggling in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a Marine (My father served as a Marine in Vietnam), and then September 11, 2001 happened and it solidified my choice. I wanted to be the best, and everyone knows Marines are the best.
Benton: The world was bigger than my little hometown and I wanted to travel the world. Plus, I was clearly the smartest person in my house at 18 years old, so I showed my parents how smart I was.
Suares: I needed money for college and needed some direction in life. Initially I considered the Navy, as I am a former Sea Scout. I spoke to a Navy recruiter and was ready to sign up. He sent me across the hall to “get a different perspective” from the Air Force recruiter (which I was also considering) and after a 20-minute conversation where we talked about options in the Air Force, Air Force training, how the Air Force encourages higher education and AF ethos, I changed my mind. Biggest regret of that Navy recruiter’s career! The next week I scored 97 out of 99 in the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) making me eligible for almost any job.
What do you remember about your first day in service? What do you remember about your last day in service?
Clancy: I remember my first day being total chaos. Not knowing the (now) simplest things like how to wear your cover (hat), blouse your trousers, align your belt, etc. Things that seem small and silly but were in fact critical lessons in attention to detail that have carried with me throughout service and life.
Benton: On the first day, I was tired and nervous about not having any idea of what was happening or what to do. The last day was filled with wildly mixed emotions! I made some great friends from all walks of life, and I was ready to get on with my life by attending college on the GI Bill, but I hadn’t yet lived on my own. I recall driving off the base and wondering if I should drive north or south on the Pacific Coast Highway; ultimately, I drove North and have never regretted the decision.
Suares: I remember on my first full day being woken up at 4:30 AM after going to bed around 1:30 AM, in a new environment to a metal trash can being hit repeatedly with a baton and words I can’t repeat here. On my last day, my supervisor still made me work the whole day, ending in a small ceremony where I was presented with a few token gifts (which I still have.) I wrote my flight a quick email saying goodbye then left for home. Not going to lie – I had tears in my eyes as I left the building.
What would you describe as your most memorable experience? What is something you miss about your days of service?
Clancy: My most memorable experience was my deployment to Iraq. There was a pause in operations on Thanksgiving and I got to play soccer with some of the Marines. It was a very “normal” thing in a place where there wasn’t much normal. I don’t miss much (because there is a lot of nonsense that also goes on), but what I do miss is the camaraderie and sense of belonging. You don’t question who you are or what your purpose is while you serve.
Benton: Being in the infantry, I recall experiencing some of the toughest, most physically demanding moments in my life, then experiencing shear exhaustion when reaching the end of a march or landing in a hot zone, only to have a few laughs with the guys to your left and right, toggling thru each other’s life stories. No one cared where you were from or the color of our skin or whether you had any money. I’ll never forget the laughs and storytelling as we were all experiencing the same things at the same time. Come to find out, we were forming bonds for life.
Suares: My most pleasant memory wastaking my grandfather out to dinner in uniform for his 70th birthday. He was so proud that he was speechless for once. If you knew him, that was a really big deal. But my saddest memory was hearing the rifle salute at a friend’s funeral. Each volley cut me to the bone.
How do you honor Veterans/Remembrance Day for yourself, with family or friends?
Clancy: I usually call my dad. Veterans day buddies right up to the Marine Corps Birthday, so there is no shortage of celebrations or drinks to be shared among Marines. This year has been extremely difficult on veterans; so, I think I’ll text a few friends I haven’t heard from in a while. I encourage everyone to reach out to one you know, just to check in and say hi. It goes a lot further than you might think.
Benton: Our little town holds a ceremony at our local cemetery. I’ve attended with my family for years, afterwards nearly always telling my kids stories of my service to my country and the pride I feel when seeing our flag and all that it stands for.
Suares: Usually with service to others. Occasionally I may go out to dinner with family, but most times I used to be involved in giving talks to youth groups, schools, etc. or donating time to other Veterans causes. I proudly served my country – and would do it again if asked – but I feel that I am not owed anything. The day should be about recognizing the living service member (past or present) and honoring us all.