This Veteran’s Day (USA) and Remembrance Day (Canada), we are reminded of our continual gratitude for the unsung heroes of Converge who have served their country. Thank you for your sacrifice, your bravery, and the example you set for us all. We are forever thankful.
To celebrate and honor this important day in both Canada and the United States, we have chosen to share a few of the many inspiring stories we received from our team at Converge. As we enter into the last months of a difficult year, we hope these stories instill in you the same inspiration and courage they have brought us.
I was a member of the ROTC during my time as a student at the University of Oklahoma. One day, a Navy recruiter came to campus in search of those willing to be part of the surface ship community.
He gathered our Battalion of ROTC Midshipman into a formation, four abreast, and asked us to look to our left and right. “You think you want to fly jets in the Navy?” he said. “One of the people standing next to you in your rank will die in peacetime and not live to see a full career, simply by having this job,” he continued. “Still want to fly jets?” was the final question. As a college student full of glorious and exciting dreams of flight, I was undeterred.
However, the recruiter was right about the risks. Day one of flight training saw our exuberance fade and become replaced by a firm sense of occupational reality. We rapidly began a continual metamorphosis, shaped by the events and the gravitas of aviation adulthood. Flying is dangerous, even in training and operational environments, and naval tactical jet crews and carrier-based aviators assume a significant degree of risk in peace and in wartime. During my time in Naval Aviation, many in my position did not make it, including two classmates who stood next to me at OU when we received that initial warning.
I served many years in the U.S. Navy. I flew thousands of hours operationally, as a civilian and as a Navy jet flight instructor. I logged hundreds of carrier landings, served in peace and in war, and was awarded a Navy Air Medal for sorties flown in combat zones. To this day, I still hold an Airline Transport Pilot certificate. I have no regrets, yet I still feel the impact of those who are missing. They shaped me, personally and professionally. I owe them something.
This Veteran’s Day, I think of those who fly from the decks of aircraft carriers, day and night, good weather and bad, all over the world. They fly without regard to personal glory, their work performed silently, without question, without regard to personal peril, and without regard to difficulty. I remember those I knew who have perished, beginning the first weeks of my tactical jet flight training and continuing throughout my Navy career. I’ll take time to be with those mates, if only in memory. I also reflect upon the aviators I didn’t know. Those before, during, and after my career who met similar fates and the families they left behind. Finally, I offer a thank you to all who have served. Happy Veteran’s Day, today and every day.
Microsoft Data Platform Consultant
Lieutenant Commander (O-4), U.S. Navy
As the daughter of a 26-year Navy Veteran, the love of country and my fellow Americans is in my DNA. The military provided me with the greatest friends of my life, the discipline to always go the extra mile, and to know, as a leader, “you can’t lead where you won’t go”.
Happy Veterans Day to all my brothers and sisters who went before me, served with me, and are still serving today. We are a family that spans decades and knows no color or religion. We all bleed red, white, and blue, and at some point in our life, wrote a check made payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, our life.
Airborne All the Way-Hooah!
SVP of Enterprise Sales
U.S. Army Veteran
On this Remembrance Day, I remember my father, Mr. Valmont Arsenault. Born in Bonaventure County in Gaspésie, Quebec/Canada. The eldest of a modest country family of 14 children, he left his family home in 1940, at the age of 18, to enlist for WWII at the Citadelle of Quebec. He joined the ranks of the Royal 22e Régiment French Canadian and was deployed in Italy and the Netherlands. He was assigned to the transport of troops, armaments, materials, and prisoners of war. He returned at the end of the war with the rank of Corporal, along with decorations for his service. He proudly served his country and helped our fellow Europeans in their release. After the war, he continued to work for the Canadian National Defense until his retirement in 1978. Married twice, he had four children. He passed away in December 1999 at the age of 77. We remember Valmont Arsenault (1922-1999).
Enterprise Inside Sales Representative
Support aux ventes internes secteur entreprise
I served in the Navy from June 1972 through June 1976 as a navigator aboard submarines. My first boat was a WWII diesel named the USS Clamagore SS343 that sailed out [MM1] of the New London Submarine Base in Groton, CT. I spent 25 months on board doing ops along the East Coast of the United States, North Atlantic, and Caribbean. Furthermore, I participated in a South American exercise with three U.S. destroyers called Unitas XIV from July through December of 1973. This involved working with various countries in South America, operating with their subs/ships and carrying some of their Seals/UDTs, and teaching them how to use our escape trunk in case we needed to bring them close to land for operations. I crossed the equator four times during this 6-month trip and visited many ports in countries such as Brazil, Uruguay, Columbia, and Peru.
My second boat was a nuclear fast attack vessel named the USS Tinosa SSN606, where I spent six months doing various ops along the East Coast of the U.S., North Atlantic, and Caribbean before heading to the shipyards in Pascagoula, MS for a nuclear reactor overhaul.
The Clamagore was decommissioned in June 1975 and has been a museum at Patriot’s Point, near Charleston, SC, since the mid-80s. She was scheduled to be sold to the Iranians in the late 70s after an overhaul at the Philadelphia shipyards, but when the Iranian crisis occurred, the boat stayed in Philly until it was moved to Charleston at the museum. I got to visit her in 1994 after finding out the boat never left the United States.
Being out to sea on the Clamagore could be tough at times since we transited on the surface and occasionally hit rough seas, including a hurricane North of the Equator in 1973. Since these boats could not manufacture fresh air, we could not submerge for more than 24 hours and, therefore, usually rode out the storms. The Tinosa, on the other hand, was nuclear powered and could manufacture fresh air as well as travel faster under the sea. With this submarine, we weren’t affected by storms at all, and we were able to transit underwater, only surfacing when we were ready to enter ports.
It was an interesting four years!
IBM Solutions Architect
My enlistment date into the USAF was 1984 with arrival at Moody AFB in 1985. I was fast-track promoted to Non-Commissioned Officer and served as our Squadron and Base Resource Manager’s (Tactical Wing) Squadron Operational Readiness and Training presenter. Basically, I made fancy overhead slides on my computer and presented them on behalf of my Squadron Commander and Base Resource Manager. When presenting at US Central Command, I was upgraded to a Top-Secret Security Clearance. Throughout my years, I was our Squadron’s Computer Representative and was the NCOIC of our Base Records & Licensing Office (sort of like a DMV/BMV).
As I was USAF predating the wars, I had to send the women in my office off to Desert Storm. I always remember them on each Memorial & Veteran’s Day.
During my time in the USAF, I was able to achieve honors such as being nominated for Airman of the Year. As was the story of my life, I was the runner up! In my career, I was also selected for the special duty assignment of supporting Air Force II for then Vice President George H.W. Bush. Additionally, I was given the USAF Meritorious Service Medal during my Honorable Discharge.
Mark A. Perry
MSC iSeries Engineer
U.S. Air Force
The Vietnam War was going strong in 1969. I graduated High School in June of that year and signed up to serve our country in October.
I was sent to Paris Island in October of ’69. Then they sent me to Camp Lejeune, NC and then to San Diego. From San Diego, my unit shipped out to Vietnam in June of 1970. I served with the 3rd Marine Division, 4th MPs. My primary role was to provide Convoy Escort and guard Camps & City Patrol. The first picture below is a young version of me at Advance Marksmanship training at Camp Lejeune. The other photo is me (front left) as a Squad Leader during a Command General Inspection. By the way, that’s not a Musket I’m holding – it’s an M14 rifle! I didn’t fire my first M16 until I was in Jungle Warfare training in San Diego.
Business Development Manager – Enterprise Cloud
U.S. Marine Corps.
These are my favorite photos of my family’s service during the Second World War. The first photo and image on the left is a few weeks before my grandfather’s deployment, Christmas of December 1939. The image on the right in that same photo is my grandfather’s 48th Highlanders Regiment’s return to Toronto at Exhibition Stadium in 1945. My father is the younger boy in each photo, ages 4 and 10, respectively. The second photo is my father at age 17, representing the Honour Guard at a Remembrance Day Ceremony. At 17 he had become the youngest NCO in the regiment’s history.
The reason that I like these pictures so much are because they show not just the battle raging in Europe, but the unsung one back at home, of keeping the family together for six years while my grandfather was doing his duty for Canada and the world.
Vice President Analytics,
North American Analytics Pre-Sales Leader