Navy veteran learns lessons of life, disciplineWritten by Scott McKimmy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Schultz could be a candidate to star in the U.S. Navy’s next TV commercial, but he’s no actor. He’s a real-life veteran who embodies the promise of acquiring the discipline and skills needed to succeed in the civilian world.
He joined the Navy and toured the globe. He also witnessed his transformation from troublemaker to ideal employee. The 23-year-old Toledoan enlisted at age 18, spent five years in the Navy Mobile Construction Battalion serving on four continents and received a job offer about a year before mustering out of the service.
Roughly three months after accepting a position with a local company, Schultz earned two raises and now oversees shipping, receiving and material handling. He declined to name his employer out of respect for privacy, but spoke frankly about the chip he used to carry on his shoulder.
”I didn’t have any college, I really didn’t have any direction in life. I was getting in a lot of trouble so I thought the military would straighten me out,” Schultz said. ”If you’re the type of person heading down the path that I was, it’s a very awakening experience.”
A self-described ”hothead” who wanted to fight ”everybody and anybody,” Schultz often found his penchant for blind courage an asset under adverse and sometimes dangerous situations. He said he probably has flown the world three times, deployed from his base in Gulfport, Miss., to Guam, Haiti, Okinawa, Spain, the Philippines and Iraq, where terrorists could strike at any time.
”I wasn’t scared when I was there,” he said. ”I mean, there were times when, you know, you’d get a little nervous, but I just did my job. And I knew the guy next to me would do their job, so I really didn’t think I had anything to worry about.”
He experienced similar circumstances in the Philippines while improving roads and building a dock for ships to unload material. Though the military hasn’t engaged terrorists on the Pacific island, Schultz said ”unfriendlys” freely roam about. Unlike their counterparts in Baghdad and Fallujah, Philippine terrorists can be more easily identified.
”You can kind of tell because you’d only be able to see their eyes; they always kept their hands hidden,” he said. ”They would carry weapons; I mean, everybody carried weapons over there, so there were a few that would make you nervous. You just kind of smile and wave at them.
”In a situation like that, you can’t be hostile. It isn’t wartime; it’s supposed to be peace so you sit back really nice and hope they don’t do anything. If they do do anything, then you know what to do.”
More opportunities are presenting themselves because of his service, including a GI Bill to pay for college. Schultz said he hopes to earn a degree in business and start a four-wheel custom fabrication shop.
”The military taught me that I really don’t like being told what to do. I like to do things my way, you know,” Schultz said. ”I don’t see a problem if you tell me to do something, and I do it my way, and you don’t like that, but I still get the job done.”