Here at GovX, we’re proud to include Marine veteran David Fields on our staff. He served between 2004 and 2012, and deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Strong in character and sincere with a smile, David’s the best kind of coworker you could ask for. Plus, his two-year-old son comes to visit the office sometimes, and he’s pretty awesome too.
On joining the USMC:
My grandfather was a big part of why I joined. He served in the Army during World War II, and though he wasn’t with us for very long during my lifetime, he nonetheless demanded a discipline that impacted my life greatly. He was the kind of man who never used more than he needed. He would let me pour my own cereal, but if I didn’t finish all of it, he wouldn’t allow me to leave until that whole bowl was clean.
His little lessons of discipline inspired me. That’s why I joined the Marine Corps. I took notice of the Marine recruiters who came to my high school. They seemed different. They walked straighter and carried a deep confidence that I could feel from across whatever room they stood in. I learned of the Corp’s reputation as the toughest military branch, and I figured “If I’m going to do it, I might as well do it big.”
If someone asked me for advice or guidance about becoming a Marine, I’d tell them that it’s all about overcoming fear and uncertainty, and learning to manage stress. You have to take the time to prepare yourself physically, yes, but you should also focus on preparing your mind. The mind is where most people break, and if you know this before you go in, the end—and the success—will arrive sooner than you think.
Two memorable moments:
The first was an overnight trip to Iwo Jima. I joined a few Marines from my unit to explore the island for a night. We explored the tunnels, we climbed Mount Suribachi, and walked on the black sandy beach. You could almost feel the intensity. The sand is so deep on the beach, it’s hard to imagine trying to maneuver to the tree line, especially under machinegun fire. And the tunnels … they run deep into the earth and are filled with a suffocating sulfuric air. Finally, we got to the top of the mountain, and we found the memorial wall. We each left a set of dog tags on on top of the mounds of tags already hanging. All of the chains had morphed and fused into a near single piece from exposure to the wind and sun. It was one of the most solemn experiences I ever had in the military.
The second moment that stands out was a field training exercise. While serving with Fox Battery, we traveled to Ojojihara in Japan. We were in the field for a couple of weeks and it rained almost the entire time. A minimum of six inches of mud met our every footfall. We used M198 Howitzers, and a couple of them ended up buried past the axles. We fired less during this training exercise than on others because of the adverse conditions, which made it feel as though we were there for nothing. To make things worse, it was incredibly hot but impossible to keep dry. Mud was in our boots, in our food, and where we slept. Everywhere. Some guys just left behind rotting boots. It was miserable. But the reason why this moment stands out is because when I look back, I remember it as a badge of honor. It’s through times like these when you and your brothers and sisters suffer, that you form the strongest bonds.
What service means:
The idea of service means a lot of things to me. I don’t believe you necessarily have to join the military, or become a police officer, or a firefighter, or anything like that to serve your country. If you do little things every day, then you’re serving your country. Service is less of an individual effort and more the efforts of the collective. Don’t leave your shopping cart in a parking spot at the grocery store. Don’t throw your trash on the ground. Don’t be a jerk to others when kindness is so much simpler. The best statement I can make on the matter is this: Offer your assistance without the expectation of reciprocity.