By C/Major Meghan Parsons
SEDONA, Arizona - On 7 October, 2014 Squadron 205 located in Sedona, Arizona hosted a Veteran's Panel with representatives from all four major branches of the armed forces. They answered questions for prospective service members and spoke about how they have used the core values in and out of the service.
The Veterans Panel included Dean Hambrick, USAF ret., Ron Luce, USN ret., Eduard Uzumeckis USMC ret and a member of the Military Order of World Wars, and Rafael Rosas, U.S. Army, ret.
There were cadets from Flagstaff, Sedona and Glendale who participated in the panel. 1st Sergeant Milton from Squadron 205 was the first to ask a question, wondering if the panel of enlisted had considered becoming officers, and if given the chance, would have switched tracks.
Mr. Hambrick originally joined with the intention of becoming an F-16 pilot, but found that he didn't enjoy the training and decided to apply his skills as a mechanic. He is thankful for this choice, as he still works on engines today. "Everything is easier after working on an F-16" Mr. Rosas said that he probably would become an officer if given another chance. "When you're an officer, soldiers depend on you. It's a tough job, but it's worth it." he explained.
Mr. Uzumeckis had a slightly different perspective. "I enlisted to avoid being drafted so I would have a say in what I would do, and where I would go in the Service." he said. "I considered OTS, but decided against it when it came time to reenlist." He explained that "our experiences are different depending if you're in a warzone or on home soil. As enlisted, we experience a complete transformation from civilian to service member. All you cadets are very lucky to have a head start in CAP."
Another cadet asked how the transition from service member to civilian affected their outlook on the core values. "If you have the core values, you don't change them when you get out. You have to learn to tolerate others values." Mr. Luce explained. Mr. Uzumeckis clarified, "you have to tolerate and accept those who don't live up to your core values. When you get out of the service, you develop another core value; compassion for the ones who were never there."
"When you're in the service, you become a part of a very exclusive fraternity. You all have a shared experience." Mr. Uzumeckis explained. "You learn to count on the person next to you no matter what." "You're part of a team," Mr. Luce added. "and you learn to act as a team very quickly." He also explained that veterans from all branches deserve recognition for all that they've done. "I even walk up to service members to thank them." he commented. "It means a lot to all of us."