Accept the Challenge.
By Juan Flores, Disbursing Clerk Senior Chief Petty Officer, DKCS (AW) USN, (Ret.)
Growing up in Copperas Cove, Texas, adjacent to Fort Hood Army base, I was exposed to the Military at a very early age. My father and two older brothers served in the Army, one brother served in Vietnam. My sister served in the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman and my younger brother retired as a Navy Boatswane’s mate. Our family served our country without hesitation and with great PRIDE!
Like many of my Navy buddies, I joined the “Greatest Navy in the World” immediately after graduating high school. I wanted to experience the “Navy Adventure”! I had convinced myself, early on, that if I ever joined any branch of service, I was going to do it right and I was going to make it at least a 20-year commitment. I proudly served and traveled the world. I was often referred to as an ambassador and they paid me to do be part of the adventure! Wow!
My Navy career started at Recruit Training Command, San Diego, CA. I also served onboard the USS Kinkaid (DD-965), San Diego, CA, USS Midway (CV-41), Yokosuka, Japan, USS Arthur W Radford (DD-968), Norfolk, VA, USS Cushing (DD-985), Pearl Harbor, HI. I was also fortunate to experience shore assignments. I served at Personnel Support Detachment, Military Pay Division, Naval Air Station, Beeville, TX. Was a Course Instructor at Disbursing Clerk “A” School, Naval Education and Training Command, Naval Air Station, Meridian, MS., where I earned my Master Training Specialist designation. After that, I was assigned as the Military Pay Director, Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes and my last assignment before retirement was as the Assistant Officer in Charge Personnel Support Activity Detachment, Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, IL.
I’ve always told my family, I was fortunate to wear the U.S. Navy uniform, however, I was only successful, because of their unselfishness and support. My three daughters and wife (high school sweetheart) constantly share great memories of living in California, Japan, Hawaii, Mississippi and Texas.
Like many others before me, I wasn’t clear as to what I would do upon retirement. I competed for a position with the Texas Department of Public Safety headquarters in Austin, TX where I knew nothing about Biometrics. However, once again my Navy training, skills and confidence kicked in. I accepted the challenge and was selected for the job over more qualified individuals. Again, I contribute my Navy leadership and management experience and discipline as a significant difference why I was selected for this high visibility and challenging job.
Eight years later, I accepted a Sales Manager position (again, no prior sales experience) in the Biometrics and Identification industry, with a focus in Law Enforcement support. I was now a part of the highly competitive corporate America. Again, my experiences prepared me for success in this new challenge.
In closing, I leave you with this: Be proud of this great country and serve it well. Use your military training and skills to succeed. Be a mentor! Pay it forward! Accept the challenge!
Juan Flores is from Copperas Cove, Texas and has three brothers and a sister who all served in the military. After graduating from Copperas Cove High School in 1977, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served his country for over 20 years. Prior to his retirement, he reached the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8). He is currently the Law Enforcement Account Manager with Fulcrum Biometrics, LLC. He is married and has three daughters. He resides in the Salado, Texas area.
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