Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Single Soldier's Life Overseas with Clarence D. Everett Jr

I believe we should always salute men and women who decide to spend time in the military, because there are many factors most overlook or not aware of drastic life changes of those who serve and protect our country. Their time in the military is not civilian employment. These men and women can go to jail for being late for work and can’t just quit the moment they are lonely, feel unappreciated, or encounter dissatisfaction -- See Article 86 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). You can never be an owner in the military or it does not matter how high your rank or the service you join, there will always be someone commanding you or telling you what to do, and when to do it. There will be times you may dislike or disagree with your orders, but you take a solemn oath to "obey the orders of the President of the United States and the lawful orders of those appointed over you." You may experience situations that may haunt you the rest of your life. The military is even allowed to discriminate by gender; there are some jobs and positions not open to women. Most don’t get to choose where they want to stay or most spend a significant time away from "home." If the military decides to discharge you or throw you out, depending on the reason, the consequences of the discharge can follow you the rest of your life.

I’m happy to say I volunteer as a mental health therapist or apart of a non-profit 501(c)(3) call Give an Hour™. This great program was founded in September 2005 by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area. According to their website (, Give an Hour is dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of the troops and families affected by the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We provide counseling to individuals, couples and families, and children and adolescents. We offer treatment for anxiety, depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, sexual health and intimacy concerns, and loss and grieving.

Being allowed to work with these troops and their beautiful families opened my eyes to how important and blessed we are to have a military, everyone is not called to take on this role. Most leave for deployment and away from their entire family. This is understandably quite often the single hardest thing a family or the person being deployed can go through. Some may have a hard time adapting to their new environment, but many find themselves gaining new relationships and being involved in exciting adventures. But don’t take my word for it; read below an interview I did with Clarence D. Everett Jr.

Nancialpc: Clarence what was it like being a single man in the military overseas away from your family and friends?

Everett: Life for me in the military overseas being single was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Growing up in Fayetteville, NC was nothing like my overseas military tour to Stuttgart, Germany my second home from December 2010 to December 2013.

Nancialpc: So you did not have a hard time adjusting to your new environment by growing up in a large family in a mid-size, country town?

Everett: During the beginning of my tour I handle being alone with no family quit well for the most part. There were many days I felt home sick, wanting nothing more than to see my family and have a homemade meal made by my mother.

Nancialpc: What advice will you give to those in the military, away from home the first time, and find themselves home sick?

Everett: The best advice for being home sick alone in a different city or traveling long periods of time in the military to other countries is to make friends. Making friends away from home is the key when becoming homing sick. No one can make it all alone with no one to talk to.

Nancialpc: Did you find yourself hanging with few friends or a lot of friends?

Everett: While stationed in Germany I made many friends, some I still talk to weekly by iphone apps, facebook or skype.

Nancialpc: Did you make friends with the locals in Germany or spent most your time with the troops in your unit?

Everett: Most of my friends were German, spending three years in a different country you are bound to make friends outside the military.

Nancialpc: How would you compare your relationships with your German friends to your American friends?

Everett: My relationship with my German friends was somewhat stronger than my American friends. They loved the fact that I was different and wanted to know how life was living in America. I simply wanted to know wanted to know the same about their culture too. People would stare at me (laugh). The best part about having foreign friends is that they can order food for you when you can’t read their language.

Nancialpc: You mention earlier in our conversation that you missed home cooked meals done by your mother. How was the food in Germany and tell us your favorite foods if you had any?

Everett: German food was the best, schnitzel, German wurst, Black forrest cake, German pancakes, brotchen and the list goes on.

Nancialpc: What was another benefit of having German friends?

Everett: Another benefit from having foreign friends, they can show you around their city and country while having an amazing time. I loved going out with my friends, the city was big and the night life was even bigger. There was always something to do, house parties, club, karaoke, fancy restaurants, concerts, car shows, beer fest, spring and summer fest. These events were amazing and I will never forget all the fun we had bonding and living life to the fullest with great people.

Nancialpc: Was life different when you returned back to the United States or Home?

Everett: When I returned everything changed for me. I came home to see that nothing had changed and people were still living life day by day with no adventures, no excitement. I notice the gun violence was very high, people killing each other over nothing.

Nancialpc: What type of feelings did you have after seeing nothing had changed or seeing that the gun violence was high and people killing each other over “nothing” and what did you do to manage those feelings?

Everett: I later seem depressed and tried my best to occupy all of my time to get away from being lonely. My old friends seem to forgotten me and moved on with life. I felt as if I had to start life over.

Nancialpc: Believing your old friends have forgotten you and moving on with their life will cause anyone to feel lonely and have feelings related to depression. How did you help yourself overcome those feelings and beliefs?

Everett: Overall I learned to cope with life

Nancialpc: That’s awesome Clarence, what would you like to say to those who are experiencing the same thing?

Everett: Make the best with what you have and to thank God always.

Click HERE to watch Clarence play drums during his downtime in Germany - He has skills!


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