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Staff who served share thoughts on Veterans Day

Friday, November 11, 2016
Veterans John Temple and Mike Anderson in one of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering server rooms. The pair now provide information technology support to the School's students, faculty and staff. (Photo: Joshua Stewart)
Veterans John Temple, left, and Mike Anderson in one of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering server rooms. The pair now provide information technology support to the School's students, faculty and staff. Temple served in the U.S. Air Force; Anderson served in the Marine Corps. (Photo: Joshua Stewart)
 

Nearly 100 years ago, the Allied nations and Germany agreed to stop fighting on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. It wasn’t official until a treaty signed months later, but that was the effective end of World War I.

Originally called Armistice Day, we now celebrate it as Veterans Day — a day to honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces for their patriotism and sacrifices.

Mike Anderson's official Marine Corps portrait.
Mike Anderson's Marine Corps portrait. (Photo Courtesy: Mike Anderson)

That includes several members of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering staff, Mike Anderson and John Temple among them.

“Each year on Veterans Day I reflect on the relationships that I built throughout my stay in the Marines,” said Anderson, the School’s director of information technology. “I got to meet and work with some outstanding individuals who put their lives on the line day in and day out simply to ensure the safety and well-being of all Americans. The bonds that we built were forged in some of the best and worst possible situations imaginable.”

Anderson spent eight years in the Marine Corps — five years on active duty and three in the inactive reserves — rising to the rank of sergeant. He worked on aircraft electronic defensive systems as well as night vision and forward-looking infrared systems.

“I reflect on our service, those serving today, and also the service of our brothers and sisters that served before us all in the name of freedom,” he said.

John Temple, right, in his dress blues at an Air Force function.
John Temple, right, in his U.S. Air Force dress blues at an official function. (Photo Courtesy: John Temple)

“[On Veterans Day,] I typically think of those that I served with and quietly thank those who gave their lives,” said Temple, a former senior airman who served six years in the U.S. Air Force.

Temple, an IT support professional and the School’s web developer, said he’s proud of his service and glad to have been a member of the Air Force. He worked on communications systems — “I fixed the radios, navigations systems and radar systems on planes and helicopters,” he said.

He said a sense of patriotism and pride in his country led him to service along with the opportunity for career training. That was part of the draw for Anderson, too.

“I was looking for a way to add some real-world experience to my resume so that I could better support my family,” Anderson said. “My dad is a former Marine, so I started exploring the option of military service.

“They offered a dynamically changing environment and a chance to see the world. All this and a chance to blow stuff up. Who could refuse? It was one of the greatest decisions I ever made.”

Anderson said the skills and discipline he learned in the Marine Corps opened new opportunities for him. And he said the places he visited around the world changed his perspective.

“It wasn’t always the best of places. This was extremely humbling,” he said. “There are a lot of things I no longer take for granted as a result.”