Military reflections: The benefits of, and misconceptions about, service

Ellis Pinder

Ellis Pinder enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1984 and retired in 2005. He attended recruit training at Parris Island, S.C., and was subsequently stationed at Quantico, Va.; Okinawa, Japan; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and Camp Lejeune, N.C. Before his duties at Camp Lejeune, he served on recruiting duty in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

What drew you to enlist?

The military presented an inexpensive opportunity to venture away from home, experience unique challenges and lay the foundation for future educational and employment opportunities.

How has your military service influenced who you are today?

A lot of the qualities I acquired while in the military are embedded in how I conduct myself as well as the way I approach and am committed to completing tasks. Whenever I’m engaged with others, I try to apply lessons learned that are rooted in the camaraderie and cohesion of the military service. The military enhanced my mental toughness, patience, discipline and personal responsibility.

When it comes to discussing service with a veteran, what advice would you offer citizens who have not served?

While serving on recruiting duty, the military was viewed by many civilians as a last resort when all else falls through. After hearing that you served in the military, civilians sometimes tend to close the conversation loop, not sure of how to proceed or where the conversation will lead. Some veterans are not inclined to openly share information about themselves. As such, the interaction should be positive, display a true sense of interest in the veteran and take the form of a conversation one might have with someone who has had a diverse career. Not every veteran bears the scars of combat. Veterans served for different reasons, and many have traveled extensively. Their service is as varied as their socioeconomic backgrounds.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Military reflections: The benefits of, and misconceptions about, service

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.