A few industry and military vets talked to Inside Towers about their experiences.
Edward Mckay left the service in 1994, “after being a jarhead for so many years but when I found the tower life, it was a better fit than any office job. In an office, you cannot tell your co-worker to get off his ass and get up that tower!” Mckay said. “When you are a tight crew and fully understand you have each other’s lives in your hands, you watch each other’s back…you remind each other to be safe, to take a break…to hurry the hell up…you get into arguments on the job site, but then go to dinner and it’s in the past. There are not a lot of civilian jobs that work that way.”
Chuck Tidwell got out in ’88. Having had some experience in the tower industry before his service made the transition a no-brainer. “I went right back to it, Brother,” Tidwell said. “No problem, in fact they were fighting with money over me.” Tidwell cites his gung-ho attitude and discipline as all working in his favor following his years in service and “the skills in radio communications, and other related electronic skills I learned didn’t hurt either,” he said.
David “Gunny” Harrison said acceptance of veterans in the workforce has improved over the years. “When I got out, being a Veteran was really nothing special as it is today,” Harrison said. “Sure it looked good on your application and some of the telecom you may have seen or participated in in the service looked good as well, but most of the guys I first met were already 2nd generation, felons and those that really wanted to stay out of the mainstream light.”
“The military taught me restraint, respect for myself and others, plus to never give up so I went back to tower work,” Mckay said. “I implemented those values into my crew(s) and the company aspect itself, creating a very tight knit crew or crews that took pride in their work and got it done no matter the circumstances….No whining, no running off in the middle of the night, leaving with per-diem and so many other things that seem to plague this industry. Back then it really was this is my family and we took care of our own,” he said.
November 10, 2017