Veterans Day: Interview with Captain Chris Siegle

Chloe Ann Porter, Writer

Veterans Day is an annual holiday that is celebrated on Nov. 11th. According to history.com, it was originally called Armistice day, signifying the end of World War I. In 1926, Congress decided that Nov. 11th would be a day remembering all veterans. The holiday became recognized as a national holiday in 1938.

Since Veterans day is a government holiday, it does not appear on the liturgical calendar. However, the Church may give out blessings or hold events, as on Mother’s Day or Thanksgiving. Most people have a relative or a family friend that has served in the military and it is important to honor them for the sacrifices that they have made for the country.

There will be a parade held on Nov. 11th in Phoenix to honor veterans. The Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree website says that the parade starts at Montebello and Central, runs southbound, turns east on Camelback Road, and then turns south on 7th Street and de-stages at Indian School Road. There is also a prayer service being held in Anthem’s Veteran Memorial on Nov. 10th. Click on the link below to find out more.

I got the chance to interview Captain Chris Siegle, father of Xavier graduate Brianna and Brophy sophomore Jason. He just returned from being stationed in Djibouti in Africa for a year:

Q: Why did you go into the military?

A: My Dad was a career Navy Officer. While I was growing up I loved seeing him in his uniform when he came home from work. I liked his stories from his year in Vietnam. When I was a freshman at the University of Illinois I thought about what I wanted to do and discussed that with my dad. I decided to apply at that point for a Naval Officer’s Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship and got it. That paid for tuition, books, a monthly stipend and summer jobs. I liked it. When I graduated from Illinois I was commissioned in the Navy and began with 6 weeks in San Diego for SCUBA school. I never looked back!

Q: When did you know that you were called to serve?

A: The process started as considering the Navy as an effective way to pay for school and led to a great experience at NROTC. My first summer assignment was to go to Virginia and spend a week with the aviation community, a week with the ships, a week on a submarine and a week with the Marines. That experience was fantastic and I met folks from other universities. After that experience, I could see that my decision was the correct one.

Q: What sacrifices have you made towards serving for the US?

A: In my 27 years in the Navy, I have deployed throughout the Pacific Ocean, Korea (4 times) and East Africa for a year. I have missed more holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, school and sports events, dinners and family stuff than I even care to remember. Time is the largest sacrifice, and the deployments and assignments are not usually ones that your family can join. Of course, there were also great times in Hawaii, San Diego and San Francisco that were enabled by the Navy.

Q: What has been the best thing to come from serving?

A: I have to say that the people I had the chance to serve with, and the chance to contribute to the security of this country were the best things. I worked with great Americans: smart, committed, creative and focused. I was able to gain great insight into people, and differing viewpoints. It is motivating to think about those folks. As I got more senior in the Navy, I enjoyed helping other folks get promoted and assigned into challenging roles and command positions. Further, the variety of assignments and the impact on security were very colorful and so different than my civilian profession as a lawyer. From leading controlling and being responsible for a 563′ long ship sailing through the South Pacific, to leading and motivating teams of construction troops to being the crew chief for America’s air and maritime defense forces at NORAD and USNORTHCOM to leading planning efforts for maritime operations against competitors in the Western Pacific, and most recently directing and synchronizing operations against violent extremists in East Africa, it has been a great experience and very satisfying.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is considering joining the military?

A: I think that any young person could enjoy the military. We have 4 distinct and capable branches with different areas of emphasis to choose from, in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Each has a wide variety of jobs and focus areas to work within. There are training programs, educational opportunities, mentoring, opportunities to work in teams, travel and overseas assignments and the benefit of being on the most capable team of defenders the world has ever seen. If a person is interested, I think he or she should look into it with a recruiter, get the details, and go for it!   

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