Honoring Veterans Campaign - Michael Hogan

Veteran, Marine Corps 

In search of a challenge, patriotism and needing discipline, I decided to join the military. I was torn between the Army and the Marine Corps, but eventually decided on USMC due to their history. 

In the USMC, I served in Hawaii and Okinawa. I was a rifleman, scout sniper; infantry (grunt) then I advanced to the Surveillance, Target, Acquisition platoon to be the eyes and ears for our battalion. My time in the service was memorable on many levels. A few of my experiences include:

  • In 1986, our rifle company was deployed as a security force for Diego Garcia, an island of the British Indian Ocean Territory. It just so happened President Reagan decided to bomb Libya. Gaddafi threatened to retaliate and Diego Garcia was one of the locations Intelligence thought might be a target. We spent days in MOPP gear (gear used to protect us from bio and chemical agents, Mission Oriented Protective Posture) in 90 degree heat and 90%+ humidity. 
  • During a training exercise on the Big Island (Hawaii) my squad was flying out on a CH-46 (helo) and the rear engine caught on fire. The pilot landed and the crew chief put the fire out, then we took off for our final destination. Later that day, a different CH-46 came to pick us up and the pilot showed us where the helo did a controlled crash landing after dropping us off. 
  • I spent Thanksgiving of 1986 in Japan (Kyoto) with the JDF (Japanese Defense Force). It was a two week joint exercise.

I retired from the USMC as a Lance Corporal and, 10 days after separation, got married and went back to Hawaii since my wife had a year and a half left to serve in the Air force. Being near the military and the military life style for those 18 months, helped make the transition to civilian life easier.

For me, being a rifleman and Scout Sniper didn’t translate to civilian life very well. Discipline, attention to detail, and good work ethic did though. Going in, I was pretty much an introvert with zero confidence. Marine Corps boot camp pretty much changed the zero confidence, although I’m still kind of an introvert. In the military I learned the importance of being a team player. I also learned to use your strengths, know your weaknesses.

Today, I'm a System Engineer in the City's IT Department. I work on most all of our servers, backing up, service pack updates, virus protection, some networking and phones. I enjoy working with the people here at the City, miss the people I served with as well as the challenges we overcame.

The military has changed significantly since I got out (89’). It’s important to remember our military is all voluntary. Which is one of the reasons we have the best military force on the planet.

Next time you meet a veteran, instead of just saying “Thank you for your service,” try to have a short conversation about their time in or just shake their hand.