This Veteran’s Day we salute all of the men and women who have served our nation. With humility and pride we thank you for your sacrifices and bravery in protecting our land and maintaining our freedoms.
We would like to introduce you to one veteran we’ve had the privilege of getting to know here in the Welcome Center. Daniel Johns and his wife, Maria, moved to Brambleton in 2008 – around the same time both of his sons and their families were moving in as well! With the grand kids in tow, Daniel and Maria enjoy attending the summer concerts and festivals, then stopping for treats at Sweet Frog!
Take a moment to read Daniel’s story, and leave a comment to give a special shout-out to any veteran you’d like to salute.
From Your Military Days….
What military branch did you serve and for how long?
US Navy, Lieutenant Commander, twenty years accredited service.
Did you meet your wife while you were in the military?
No, I met her in Zaragoza, Spain while stationed at Zaragoza Air Force Base as a civilian. We were married in Rota, Spain before I enlisted in the US Navy.
Why did you join the military?
There were a number of reasons, but I believe strongly in two, (1) a belief in serving my country and (2) furthering my education.
Were you in any wars during your time enlisted?
I was a part of the peacekeeping force in Beirut, Lebanon and served during Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
What was your favorite place you were stationed?
There are three that come to mind: most memorable service as a Seabee with Construction Battalion 410, Naval Officer aboard the USS Virginia – a nuclear powered guided missile cruiser, and Supply Officer at the Shore Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Little Creek, Virginia.
What hardships did you encounter and how do you think that hardship made you a better man?
Perhaps my most difficult moment was during my time in Beirut, Lebanon. The American Compound outside the Beirut International Airport was destroyed by a terrorist attack killing 282 of my shipmates and solders. I was aboard the USS Virginia gathering supplies when this occurred. It was a defining moment for me personally, realizing my mortality.
People often say a strong sense of humor helps humans get through difficult times. Do you have any humorous stories?
Well, I have always been accused of smiling too much. Once while serving on the Turkish Air Force Chief of Staff as a logistics adviser, a Turkish Air Force officer asked me why I always smile and keep repeating the phrase “nice and easy” during our discussions. I went on to tell him that people respond to those gestures in any language when dealing with new ideas or difficult times. Believe it or not, it was a phrase I used while instructing local bowlers in Ankara. I had the opportunity to provide instruction at a local bowling center (Rollhouse) on weekends and during my spare time while consulting to the Turkish Chief of Staff in Ankara. These efforts produced their first Turkish National Champion and provided enough training and exhibitions that also produced Turkey’s current National Bowling Academy and Instruction for Turkish and European bowlers.
What did you do once you retired from the military?
Being able to offer my experience as a Naval Officer, I had the opportunity to support the Trident Program Office, Missile Defense Programs and Nuclear/Biological Deterrence Programs under a number of government contractor positions for twenty seven years before retiring from the Lockheed Martin Corporation in 2012.
What does it mean to you to be a Veteran?
I don’t mean to be a cliche, but serving our country was my honor. I truly believe in the Marine Corps motto “Semper Fidelis,” always faithful, with honor, courage and commitment to all endeavors that you take on.
What is your fondest memory while being in the military and growing your family?
Serving as an enlisted man, a Seabee in Construction Battalion 410 in Jacksonville, Florida. I was awarded Seabee of the Year and selected for Officer Candidates School.
What advice would you give to the younger you and other young service members as they make the commitment to protect our country?
Work hard, work smartly, learn everything you can. Always be faithful. Serve with honor, courage and commitment to all endeavors that you take on.
What did you learn about yourself through your experience in the military?
Everyone matters, everyone has something to contribute to your growth and to society as a whole, and there are always consequences to your actions.
At Home in Brambleton….
What do you love about Brambleton?
It’s a small town feeling, so easy to walk to the local stores and the park!
How many kids do you have?
We have two grown sons, Albert and David. They both live in Brambleton with their families (we have four granddaughters and one grandson).
What do you enjoy these days?
That’s an easy one – being involved with our five grandchildren every day. To see them grow is a humbling experience.
What are your favorite events to attend in Brambleton?
The summer events by far….the concerts!
After all the sacrifices you and your family made for our country is there any specific quote, word or saying that describes your family’s story?
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever!
Humans of Brambleton is our blog feature that focuses on one of the many interesting personalities who calls Brambleton home. If you’re interested in being a future Human of Brambleton, email us at email@example.com.