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Interview with a Veteran - Gregg Mays

Service Information
Branch

Army; several units, but fought in the Gulf War with A Battery 1/41st Field Artillery Battalion
Dates joined and dismissed
Joined 28 Apr 87—Retired 31 Jul 08
Job description
Field Artillery, Signal Corps and Foreign Area Officer
Final rank
Major

Why did you join the service?
My father was a career military member. I also had three brothers that began military service prior to me entering. I guess you could say that the military is the family business.

What do you do now?
For employment, I am a high school teacher and coach. I teach American History. I am the Boys’ Tennis coach for our school and enjoy this greatly.
For pleasure, I enjoy growing in my faith in Christ. I also enjoy teaching tennis privately.

What was the best thing about the service?
Learning how to live a disciplined lifestyle and the togetherness I felt. I have been able to take lessons that I learned from the military and apply them to my life now as a high school teacher.

What was the worst thing about the service?
I had some bad superior officers who did not appear to put the Army before their personal gain. I learned from them how another person would feel if I took such an approach. The Army is a hierarchy and if those in high positions do not accept the responsibility of their authority it is easy to push Soldiers the wrong way.

During your transition from active service to veteran, what or who was the most helpful?
For me the most helpful people were my friends and family members that had made the same transition before me. Military agencies were good, but my friends and family had more access to me which enabled them to provide me with excellent support during my transition.

During your transition from active service to veteran, what or who was the most frustrating?
My transition was very smooth. I do not recall one frustrating moment.

What advice would you give to someone entering the service?
Enter the military with a willingness to adjust your plans to that of your unit’s. Military life can be very good, but it is demanding. Your branch of service will always put itself in front of you when it is necessary; that is because there are so many members in each branch that each branch must have a standard to which they adhere.

What advice would you give to someone leaving the service?
Take your time; do not rush through the process. The first day you are eligible to begin the process, start. If you take your time through the process you are less likely to miss something.


As a veteran, what/when was your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was deboarding a military flight in Bangor, Maine. We were traveling home from Saudi Arabia; it was about 6:00 am EST. The airport was packed with people there for the sole purpose of welcoming us back on to American soil. Since that day one of my dreams is to return to Bangor, Maine for a visit. I want to take my wife there so she can see the place where I felt the proudest to be an American.

Here you are, speaking to thousands of veterans. What would you like to tell them?
We all have different experiences and there are people that want to benefit from what we have learned during our tour of duty. Most people want to know more, but we as veterans have a tendency not to want to talk about it. Telling our stories is a two fold benefit; we get to process it and release ourselves from the “bad stuff” and others gain insight to our life. This creates a better understanding, more tolerance and increased support for our fellow troops.

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