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Honoring Veterans: John’s Reflection on Service and Commitment at Dell Technologies

John M. | Manager, Inside Sales Management | Oklahoma, US

Originally Published: November 10, 2023

John served in the United States Navy as a Sonar Technician Geographical (Surface Warfare Specialist) 3rd Class Petty Officer. He joined in 2006 and separated with an Honorable Discharge in 2009. John attended bootcamp in Great Lakes, Illinois along with additional training in San Diego, California. In 2007, he joined the USS Underwood (FFG36) stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, where he completed two deployments.

What motivated you to join the military?

I felt a sense of duty to my country post 9/11 as well as a desire to travel the world. I was 20 years old, working two jobs and going to school full time. I realized that if I joined the Navy, I could pursue personal interests and earn college education funding from my service. I knew it was time for a change, and this was what I needed to do.

What are some of the most memorable experiences or events from your service?

First and foremost are the bonds of brotherhood with the people I served with on the Underwood. As of October 2023, I have been out of the service for 14 years, and I am still in contact with at least six of those individuals on a regular basis. The second would be the memories we made as a group. I have been whitewater rafting in Turkey, and I have experienced many cultures in Bahrain, Qatar, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama and Columbia. Lastly, I'll tie to my initial purpose of joining - a sense of service. During my final deployment, we were able to intercept and seize more than 53,000 pounds of contraband, worth an estimated street value of more than $1.6 billion.

What are some of the skills or values you learned or developed in the military?

Honor is one of the things I love about Dell. One of our unofficial mantras is “have a high 'Say: Do' ratio!” Your words have value, and it is important to uphold that value so as not to diminish it.

As a junior enlisted member in the Navy, I learned skills like perseverance, leadership and team building. The fast-paced environment demands resilience and quick adaptation. Upon joining your first ship, you start as a utility player for three to six months, preparing meals and doing dishes. Then you serve three to six months as a Damage Control Petty Officer, maintaining emergency equipment and fittings. These skills have helped me transition into my roles at Dell and continue to develop in my personal and professional life.

How did your service impact your life, both personally and professionally?

My service had a great impact on me personally, such as a great connection to family. I got married while I was enlisted, but I never had children as a service member. I have four kids now - two girls and two boys - and I will tell you that I have an increased level of respect for individuals who are actively serving while having a family! It must be one of the toughest things in the world to leave your loved ones for six to 12 months at a time with limited communication.

What has been your experience in the Veterans and Supporters Employee Resource Group (ERG)?

During my tenure in the ERG, I've served in a variety of capacities. From being our ERG's Communications lead to the Professional Development lead and site lead from 2019-2022 for the Oklahoma City Chapter, I learned so much about myself. I currently serve as the Global Professional Development lead for our Veterans and Supporters ERG. I’m passionate about career growth and giving back to others with a hope of making their careers more meaningful to them.

What does Veterans Day mean to you, and how do you celebrate it?

I think it is an amazing opportunity to publicly recognize and thank living veterans and sincerely express your gratitude. If you come across a veteran, ask questions about their service, their branch, their experiences and reasons for serving. Listening to their story will mean everything to them, and it may help you appreciate our veterans and the liberties they have secured.

My way of celebrating Veterans Day is spending time with the people who are most important to me. I can enjoy THAT moment I have with them because of the personal sacrifice I, and so many others, have made to have that moment! This year, I am beyond excited to partner with my church to put on a Veterans Day appreciation event to honor the many veterans who have served from our community.

Learn more about life at Dell by visiting Our Stories.

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