Letter from a Veteran: David Vasquez
The United States Navy, a global force for good, began its journey on October 13th, 1775. It’s a force that defends our beautiful country through the air, land, and sea. Enriched with customs and traditions that have shaped a heritage, these traditions serve as the foundation of the Navy to this day. Traditions such as “Manning the rails” before setting sail on deployment, ship launching, commissioning, tattoos, and the Sailor’s Creed come to mind when I reflect on my Navy experience since my separation in 2019. When I first joined the Navy, I was young and naive. I believed it would be something I would do for four years to cover my college expenses and that I would look cool in a uniform while doing it. I could have never foreseen the incredible experiences that lay ahead.
I joined as a Hospital Corpsman and quickly realized that the Navy introduced me to a world beyond my expectations. It was a tale of two sides – “Green Side” and “Blue Side,” Marines and Navy, each achieving the mission in dramatically different ways. I had the privilege of gaining invaluable knowledge and experience from both sides, ranging from casualty combat care and emergency medicine to administering immunizations, tending to occupational health, and even working on a maternal-infant unit. The Navy made it possible for me to accumulate a wealth of experience during my service. These experiences were the icing on the cake, but the cherry on top was the places I visited and the people I met.
In 2015, I embarked on the USNS Comfort for Continuing Promise 15 (CP 15), a mission that took me through Central and South America and the Caribbean. In just six months, I visited 12 different countries, providing assistance to the people in those regions and hearing their stories. The people I met and the relationships I formed in the Navy are treasures I will cherish for the rest of my time on this Earth. In my opinion, the military is an acquired taste, especially if you aim to make it a career, but it has undoubtedly enriched and benefited my life. Only 1% of the population will don a uniform and serve the country and I’m proud to say that I had the opportunity with the Navy.