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A Navy veteran reflects on the deep meaning of Memorial Day

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This blog was written in collaboration with Bob Auer, Deputy Director, Global Diversity and Inclusion. After an honorable discharge from the Navy, Bob joined Intel in 1998 as a junior finance employee, and has served in different parts of the finance organization for the past 20 years. In June, he’ll join the Diversity and Inclusion Group. He’s excited to leverage his experience as a mentor, sponsor, and advocate to empower greater connection and opportunity for underrepresented minorities and women employees across the business. The new role is an opportunity to do something he’s passionate about and to serve a higher order as he did in the military – this time equality and inclusion in the workplace.


From the Navy to Intel

I grew up in Kenya and joined the U.S. Navy when I was 17 years old. I loved the job and served for more than eight years, initially as a sonar technician working off of submarines and then as a Navy diver.

Military service means doing something special, something greater than yourself. It can be a tough transition from the military into the civilian sector, but there is overlap.

My time in the military taught me lifelong skills that have been invaluable in the private sector. We were taught structured problem solving in extremely high-stress environments. I also learned how to communicate and collaborate across different partnering lines – you don’t get the option of refusing to work with anybody.

The ability to discard distraction, work collaboratively, and focus on getting the job done are great skills to have, especially in noisy, collective work environments.

A history of service

My maternal grandfather and uncle served, but I was the first on my father’s side to serve. I have a son who has been in the military for about four months. Like me, he joined the Navy and recently graduated from the same boot camp I did in Great Lakes, IL.

It’s been surreal experiencing service from the other side. I now know how it feels to have a child in active duty. The pride and concern, and hope for a safe return.



Memorial Day: A somber day of remembrance

It’s important to recognize the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

Veterans Day is the day we acknowledge service. We’ve got an amazing group of veterans at Intel to recognize and thank on that day. For example, Jackie Parker was the first F16-certified combat pilot in the U.S. Airforce, and she is a director at Intel Capital. She’s one of many. If you look at our factories and who’s making our products, particularly in the fabs, a high percentage of those employees are veterans.

Memorial Day is a time to acknowledge and honor those who gave the supreme sacrifice and the families of those who gave their lives in service to their country.

I am amazed and humbled by how many Gold Star employees we have at Intel. A Gold Star employee is someone who has lost a family member – usually a son or daughter – in service. We have mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters for whom Memorial Day is a sad and poignant day.

The grief process is a continuous one. There’s no point where the mourner is suddenly okay. The words we use and the actions we take for those in grief are appropriate and appreciated on Memorial Day.

Remember, it’s not just the veteran who serves, it’s the people around him or her. That’s especially significant on this day of remembrance.

To those who served and are gone and to those who remain, remember, and mourn: Thank you all for your service.
About the Author
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