Veteran's Day

Celebrating Our Veterans

We're extremely proud to have so many veterans who work at LONG. This Veterans Day, we wanted to celebrate each of our vets by giving them a platform to share their stories, what they miss most, or what they're most proud of, in their own words. From everyone at LONG, thank you for your service!

Chris-BrackenChris Bracken, Branch Manager - Anchorage, AK
U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army
Years in service:  10
Reasons for enlisting:  To learn a trade, college seed money, serve my country, and get a jump start on adulting.

From Chris:  I was sent to Central America (Honduras) on a temporary 6-month assignment to work in the Joint Task Force Bravo operations center. I was only there for a short time when Hurricane Mitch developed in the Atlantic Ocean and took a southern turn maneuvering over the top of Honduras, bringing a record amount of water with it, flooding all the valleys in this mountainous country. As soon as Mitch hit the Pacific Ocean on the other side, it regained strength and made a U-turn, bringing Pacific waters with it back over Honduras and returning to the Caribbean. The first 24-hours were spent building sandbag walls in an attempt to save our power plant and water treatment facility, followed by hunkering down, maintaining communications, and prioritizing rescue operations. Over 15,000 people died with entire villages being wiped from the planet. Within the days and weeks that followed, we delivered tons of food and supplies to stranded Hondurans, established communications throughout the country, and began to rebuild roads and bridges. One very memorable view from a helicopter was seeing an entire valley look as if a gigantic sponge had wiped it clean, only leaving the remnant of a bridge standing in the middle of it. Landing in the village it once served, we met with the locals who had fortunately faired well on their high ground. They teamed with a unit that had come to rebuild roads in their area and quickly got their plantations back in to operation. That was the story repeatedly throughout the country; we, and our resources, were welcomed and the locals put in the same amount of hard work it took to get life back to a level of normalcy.

My takeaway from this deployment was that even though I had been trained in combat operations for years, many of those same skill sets easily applied to help save lives as well as rebuild communities and a country.

Added bonus: President Clinton flew in and gave a very gracious “Thank You” to all the armed forces involved in the operation. I even got a quick handshake as he mingled with the crowd.

 

Bill-CanterBill Canter, Building Automation Operations Manager - Renton, WA
U.S. Navy
Years in service:  8
Reasons for enlisting:  Ran out of money while going to college, decided to leave the small town I grew up in Ohio for something new.

From Bill:  For me getting to serve on the USS Ohio for 4 years really was a remarkable experience. While we could not have any port calls (most countries don’t like having ballistic missiles parked in their port) it was a great experience. Just knowing that the submarine was commissioned on my 18th birthday (Veteran’s Day) and I grew up in Ohio made it special to me.

During 1990 while serving on the USS Kamehameha we pulled into to Port Canaveral. While there, a construction crew with a crane came out and welded a 150’ tower just behind the sail on to the back of the submarine. Within a few days we were to go out to sea and test fire a missile to become certified to launch missiles. The tower is used to track the ship while submerged so they know it’s exact position. The very next day the crew returned and cut the tower off. We set out at high speed and within a week we were in the middle of the Persian Gulf supporting the liberation of Kuwait.

 

Paul-ChristiansenPaul Christiansen, General Manager - Salt Lake City, UT
U.S. Army
Years in service:  2
Reasons for enlisting:  College tuition.

From Paul:  I was able to travel throughout Europe for 20 months being based in West Germany. I was able to make rank very expeditiously and my time in the Army developed my work ethic and baseline for a successful business career.

 

 

 

 

Steve-DalvitSteve Dalvit, Building Automation Project Manager - Littleton, CO
U.S. Navy
Years in service:  4
Reasons for enlisting: I was in a dead-end job; I had just spent 2 years at UNC and realized college was not for me and I wanted to see the world.

From Steve:  I just loved working on jet engines and running them up on the test cell of the ship. Standing next to an engine of an F-14 while it is in full after burner is amazing! I also got to meet the Sultan of Brunei when he visited our ship.

 

 

Sean-Davenport-SmithSean Davenport-Smith, HVAC Equipment Sales Engineer - Littleton, CO
U.S. Navy
Years in service:  5
Reasons for enlisting:  I wanted to serve my country and travel around the world.

From Sean:  I miss the people I served with and running 5k's on the flight deck every Sunday morning.

 

 

 

 

Brittany-DavidsonBrittany Davidson, Security Solutions Project Manager - Renton, WA
U.S. Navy
Years in service:  6
Reasons for enlisting: Opportunity for direction, service, and education during a quarter life crisis.

From Brittany:  During deployment I got the opportunity to participate in a swim call while we were somewhere near the Mariana Trench. Immediately after qualifying Reactor Operator, I jumped from the hangar bay into the ocean 50 feet below. The water was the most beautiful blue and I can still relive that feeling of freedom floating with a group of smiling friends next to a huge ship we’d called home for the last 6 months.

 

Timothy-HooverTimothy Hoover, Building Automation Senior Project Manager - Silverdale, WA
U.S. Navy
Years in service:  23
Reasons for enlisting:  To learn new things and see the world.

From Timothy:  The Navy taught me 3 things that I live by:

            1. Everyone is good for something, even if only to serve as a good bad example
  1. Don't just be that yes sir/ma'am team member. Provide realistic feedback on your team's capabilities and ask for help when you need it.
  2. People only have the power over you that you allow them to have. Advocate for yourself.

 

Kramer-PeterKramer Peter, HVAC Equipment Project Manager - Littleton, CO
U.S. Army Reserves
Years in service:  12
Reasons for enlisting:  For me, it was to pay for College. I joined ROTC while at Colorado State University, and in doing so, they provided a scholarship with a stipend. It also guaranteed a full time, well-paying job after college. I also always wanted to be in the Army since I was a kid, so it all made sense to become an Officer in the Army.

From Kramer:  I was able to travel to some amazing places. Panama, El Salvador where we helped build schools and provide humanitarian support. The Army also took me all over the United States: Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, California, Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina.

The thing I will miss the most is the people I served with. I met some amazing individuals that I got to share the experience and build camaraderie with.

 

Jeff-RudenJeffrey A. Ruden, HVAC Equipment Owner's Representative - Littleton, CO
U.S. Army Reserves
Years in service:  8
Reasons for enlisting:  Life events that allowed for a change of environment.

From Jeffrey:  I joined the Army as an escape from the sudden death of lifelong friend. I looked to the Army as a structured avenue for both mental and physical disciplines. Being an athlete, I really enjoyed the physical fitness. The structure, fitness, communication, and organizational processes have set the foundation for what I believe are my successes. Much respect to those who serve in the Military that sacrifice their livelihood and efforts to serve others to allow for freedom of choices and safety.

 

Anthony-SmithAnthony Smith, Security Solutions Operations Manager - Fairbanks, AK
U.S. Air Force
Years in service:  6
Reasons for enlisting:  Family tradition from further back than I know. The chance to see the world and be a part of something bigger.

From Anthony:  I’ll never forget the bonds and friendships you make along the way. New places, new people, and all of them having your back in every situation. You learn what working with a Team should feel like and how mutual respect is earned and given. Days, both good and bad, presented new things to cherish.

 

 

Mike-TaylorMike Taylor, Service Technician - Casper, WY
U.S. Navy
Years in service:  4
Reasons for enlisting:  Money for school and to join eod.

From Mike:  I mostly miss how close military members are, like a family.

 

 

 

 

 

Marc-VilsMarc Vils, Building Automation Project Manager - Colorado Springs, CO
U.S. Airforce
Years in service:  8
Reasons for enlisting:  Stay out of jail.

From Marc:  I enjoyed my time in the service and all it taught me.

 

 

 

 

 

Chuck-WilliamsChuck Williams, Security Solutions Integration and Network Specialist - Juneau, AK
U.S. Marine Corps
Years in service:  6
Reasons for enlisting:  Bored and wanted to get out of New York.

From Chuck:  The most interesting part of the military was meeting and living with folks from all over the country.

 

 

 

 

Richard-WillkommRichard Willkomm, Security Solutions Integration and Network Specialist - Anchorage, AK
U.S. Army
Years in service:  7
Reasons for enlisting:  Following in family tradition. My dad served in Vietnam and Desert Storm. Both grandfathers in WW2.

From Richard:  I am proud of being part of the unit that closed down Iraq in 2012.

 

 

 

 

Alex-YbarraAlex Ybarra, Lead Automation Service Tech - Casper, WY
U.S. Marine Corps
Years in service:  5
Reasons for enlisting:  To serve our country.

From Alex:  What I miss most about serving in the military is the camaraderie I shared with my fellow marines. Proud to be a part of something larger, and serving my country.

 

 

Topics

Joslyn Beckwith

Joslyn is the digital marketing coordinator for LONG. She loves to hike and play volleyball when the weather is warm and spends her free time reading, watching movies, and playing video and board games.