Veterans Speak to Students About Their Service

In honor of Veteran’s Day, a number of veterans volunteered to speak about their experience with social studies classes at Hanover High School. Two former Marines, Brent Quimby, and David Bates, as well as Brianna, a former Religious Program Specialist in the Navy, were some of the veterans that met with U.S. History classes. Each of their experiences proved that there are many ways to serve in the military.

Quimby talked about the events that led him to serve in the Marine Corp. He had already been interested in going into the military during high school but it wasn’t the only contributing factor in his decision. Quimby said “9/11 happened when I was a freshman in high school, so I remember following that and what the military response was in Afghanistan and, eventually Iraq. Those memories really stuck with me and ultimately led me to want to serve my country.” He ended up studying at the Naval Academy and eventually serving in the Marine Corp.

“I joined the Marine Corps and really fell in love with it–the focus on teamwork, leadership, and really just looking out for each other,” Quimby said, emphasizing the family-oriented aspect of being in the Marines.

He worked in artillery in combat, which included doing work like determining how to accurately aim the M777, an artillery piece. He told one story about a time he was running down a slope holding 70 pounds of gear. When people fired at him, he fell and dislocated his ankle, the only injury he ever sustained in combat.

Bates also went to the Naval Academy before he joined the Marine Corp. In contrast to Quimby, he spent four years in logistics which he called “the party planner of war”. He helped to organize and bring in the trucks, ammunition, and food required to run a 15,000 person camp, which had more people than the town of Hanover.

“It’s the most unmilitary thing you could do but it was the most fascinating experience to help run this coalition base in the middle of the desert,” said Bates.

He spent his last four years as a special forces team leader in the Marine Corp. He commanded two teams, which each consisted of 16 to 20 people for a mission, who worked with training people in foreign countries.

“Our core mission is to go into a foreign country and train that military to do whatever it is they want to do better,” said Bates. He mentioned teaching infantry tactics and counter-piracy.

These teams also worked with counter-terrorism. Bates explained how state-sponsored terrorism in Africa from heads of state such as Gaddafi leaked down into other tribal areas, causing instability. Bates’s team would help provide stability in these areas.

Despite the differences in their jobs, both Quimby and Bates explained how being in the marines, and the military, in general, gave them skills in leadership and teamwork that was different to anything they could have learned in their private life.

“To step into that role and have to lead from day one is I think an experience that is unparalleled in the private sector,” said Bates.

These skills are part of what sets them apart at Tuck, where they may not have as many quantitative skills as their classmates.

Quimby said “How [they] work with teams, how [they] lead and show that to [their] classmates who have less experience doing that” is part of what their experience in the military contributes to other classmates at Tuck.

Bates said that “I think [these skills] extends whether you’re in the navy, or the air force or the army, or the guard for that matter.” For another veteran, Brianna, who served as a religious program specialist in the Navy, he was right. In her position, she helped people in the military keep their religious practice and helped people dealing with mental problems such as PTSD and suicidal thoughts. Although her job was very different from Bates’s she was also put in charge of people who had been serving in the military for much longer than her. As a result, her experience with leadership was very similar.

One thing that all the veterans I talked to on Friday shared was the bond they felt with other people who had served in the military. As Brianna said: “There’s not many people who can understand the experiences you go through on a daily basis”

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