Ascendum recognizes military appreciation month with an article by Rich Kurz

Ascendum recognizes military appreciation month with an article by Rich Kurz.

The month of May is Military Appreciation Month. It is a special month for both those in and out of the military. Not only do we pause on Memorial Day to remember the sacrifice and service of those who gave all, but the month also holds several other military anniversaries and events, including Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Armed Forces Day, Loyalty Day, VE Day, and Children of Fallen Patriots day.

I would write a bit about someone I knew quite well who was in the Army — my father.

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Rich Kurz, VP & GM Office 365 Group

I was never in the military, so in honor of Military Appreciation Month, I thought I would write a bit about someone I knew quite well who was in the Army — my father.  

My father grew up in the 40s and 50s when the draft was still around. He attended his freshman year of college at Xavier University and decided to join the Army the summer of his sophomore year to take a break from the classroom and remove the doubt of being drafted at some point in time.  

Well, that didn’t work out too well for him, as after boot camp, he took one of those fantastic Army aptitude tests to identify what area of the service he would excel, and it put him right back in the classroom, learning Russian. He was in the Army for three years, spending most of his time in Monterey, California listening to the airwaves and translating Russian.  

From what I recall from discussions with him, he really enjoyed those three years of growth, knowledge, and friendships. As I think back to those conversations, a few interesting things come to mind.

He hitchhiked back from boot camp to Cincinnati.

• He was named the Private of the Month when stationed in Oklahoma, became inebriated while celebrating, and was late for the award ceremony. His commander at the time was Colin Powell who woke him up in the barracks and laughed that a private was keeping a general waiting

• He loved his time in Monterey, CA. At a PGA Tour event there, he brushed shoulders with Marilyn Monroe

• Even in the 70’s and 80’s talking to me, he said he couldn’t say exactly what he did in the military

• He was recommended to go to West Point and always wished he’d have taken them up on it

• He would meet up every so often with some close friends from the Army up until he passed away in 2012.

Now that you know a little about my dad’s time in the military, what roles he had, why he joined, I thought it a good idea to ask our Ascendum veterans the same questions. Here are snippets of their responses:

What made you join the military?

• Getting away, a fresh start

• Ability to travel, get an education

• Heavy military family. My grandfather was a WWII tanker in the Army and my dad was in the Marines and a huge influence

What jobs did they have?

• Aviation Electronics technician and Aircrew for the US Navy’s P3 Orion Anti-submarine warfare.

• Captain’s Mess, Aviation Storekeeper

• 54B (Chemical Operations Specialist), 42A (Personnel), 420A (Personnel Technician, WO)

Where were you stationed, and which was your favorite?

• Camp Stanley, Korea, Ft Bragg, NC and Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. Korea was my favorite. I absolutely love Korean food, so it was a hard battle staying within the Army height/weight standards!

ª Stationed on the USS Concord out of Norfolk, Virginia. I loved traveling!

• Over my nine years, I lived in five states (CA, IL, TN, FL, WA). Tennessee was great, as I met and married my wife. We both loved our time at Point Mugu Naval Air Station in Ventura, CA with the Pacific Coast Highway 1 and the ocean.

What did you enjoy most?

• Friendships, meeting new people, and building friendships that last a lifetime, along with the ability to see the world.

• The travel and the people I met

• Camaraderie! I am still very close to those that I served with, it’s a tight brotherhood among those that served

What did you learn that you bring to your job here at Ascendum?

• My experience with different types of people

• Military discipline, following orders, and leadership skills

• Leadership, followed by devotion to the job

What guidance would you provide someone thinking about joining the military?

• It will be your best decision ever and will change who you are for the better. You will be accepted into and have a brotherhood for life.

• Do it. Looks good on a resume and a great experience. Lots of free education

• You will never regret it. But first make sure you don't go in blind as there are many career opportunities available. Make sure you pick something that you want to carry outside the military as a career and you will be proud. God bless

Happy Memorial Day everyone and thank you Ascendum veterans for your service to our great country!

• Doug Justice

• Mike Henthorn

• Chris Jackson

• Keith Smith

• Jason Carney

• Nolan Huff