In honor of National Military Appreciation Month, we are featuring the stories of NetApp team members and partners who have served their country in the armed forces to learn how their experiences in the military have shaped their civilian careers.  Recently, we featured our conversation with Tom Deirlein who served in the Army prior to becoming the CEO of ThunderCat Technology, and today we talk with Bernardo Guzman, Facilities Program Manager WPR Americas Operations at NetApp, who started his career as a private in the United States Marines Corps (USMC). Continue reading for more.

Gov Data Download: Welcome to GovDataDownload! We heard you served in the USMC prior to joining NetApp. Can you tell us a little bit about your experiences with the USMC? When did you serve?

Bernardo Guzman: I served in the USMC shortly after graduating high school, and served until 1994. At the time I enlisted, there really wasn’t a lot of conflict in the world, but that quickly changed once I was deployed to my first duty station. I witnessed a number of historic events including Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as the conflict in Somalia. I also served in Japan and Korea providing Security Forces to the military.  During the operations, I was promoted two ranks in the field by a Major General from Private to Lance Corporal, which was a highlight of my military experience.  At the end of my four year term, I completed my service as a Corporal.

GDD: Why did you decide to serve?

BG: At the time, college was not for me and I knew I wanted to do something bigger with my life. I was living in New York in the 90’s and happened to be shopping on Fordham Road in the Bronx when a recruiter pulled me into his office. I saw a huge mural on the wall of Marines in their dress blue uniform and I thought “this is it – I want to be a Marine.” It was the best decision I’ve ever made and truly believe it has made me the person I am today.

GDD: Can you tell us about one of your most memorable experiences in the USMC?

BG: Immediately after becoming a Marine, I was deployed to Operation Desert Storm, which was unforgettable — to be a part of such a historical event and see the oil fields burning was a sight. By the time I completed my deployment, I had been promoted two ranks by a Major General in the field. I came back to my duty station as a Lance Corporal. That was a pretty special experience and I remember it like it was yesterday. I felt like the hard work and dedication I put into my service had paid off.

GDD: How has serving in the armed forces helped shape your civilian career?

BG: I truly believe serving in the Marines has made me the man that I am today. I give everything I can into each aspect of my life. I like to live by what I call the “three D’s”: dedication, discipline and desire. Being the best is something I always aim for and hope I’m remembered for my contributions to my unit and the leadership I bring to my current role at NetApp.

GDD: What piece of advice would you share with military personnel who are about to transition to civilian life?

BG: Transitioning from military to civilian life can be difficult but I encourage veterans to remain positive about the experience because there are so many opportunities available for veterans, especially today. When I returned from the military, I spent some time on the west coast before finally settling in northern Virginia. After a few years at NetApp, I was promoted to Facilities Program Manager WPR Americas Operations. I truly believe if you work hard and challenge yourself, there will always be opportunities available, and am proud to say I served in the United States Marine Corps. Semper Fi.