As Told by Rajant’s Military Service Members
As Veterans Day quickly approaches, we at Rajant are taking time to reflect with gratitude on our ties to the military.
This year, we celebrated 20 years of providing the military with a “Combat Proven Solution” through our communication technology. Our co-founders, Robert Schena and Paul Hellhake, founded Rajant because of a clear gap in technology capabilities that came to light during the events of 9/11.
Honoring Rajant’s Military Service Members
We’re fortunate to call many former servicemembers our colleagues here at Rajant. To highlight and honor them, we asked them to describe their experiences in the military and how the paths of their lives changed as a result of their service. Here are a few of their inspiring stories.
Steven Griggs, Vice President of Sales Engineering
My time in the Navy, I feel, defines what my professional life has become. The Navy not only gave me the basis for the technical skills I possess today but also taught me great lessons in commitment and leadership.
Today, as Vice President of Sales Engineering for Rajant, I find myself falling back on all those lessons learned while performing my duties, day after day. We have built a great Sales Engineering team today that I am extremely proud of. It is my privilege and honor to head up that team, just as I was as the Leading Petty Officer of the Electronics Technician Shop on board the USS Manitowoc back in the day.
David Mayo, Software Engineer
I served as an IT network administrator in the US Air Force for four years, where I learned firsthand just how hard it is to keep a critical network online in difficult conditions. I had to do my job, and do it right every single time, or else people could die. I had to stay mindful of that.
Now, at Rajant, I try to bring that same mindfulness to my work. I know that our partners and customers are network administrators tasked with doing incredible work in impossible scenarios, just like I used to be. I know that they take every bit as much pride in their networks as I used to take in mine. Knowing that my work is being used to empower those administrators and the missions they’re enabling fills me with pride. And it motivates me to continue doing great work for them here at Rajant.
Rob Castillo, Military and Government Sales
In 1989, when I enlisted in the Army, the world seemed different—perhaps a bit more peaceful. My first duty station was Fort Drum, New York, which is very different from the small Texas town where I grew up. The winters were long, and the training was hard, but our Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) were competent and resourceful. I learned a great deal in my first four years in the Army.
For the next 15 years, my career was very tactical, full of rotations to our Army Training Centers and deployments to the jungles in Panama and Europe.
The Army allowed me to provide food and clothing to my growing family. My family never had to worry about healthcare because that was part of the many benefits we were given for serving. I was in Germany on 9/11. As we scrambled after hearing the news, suddenly, I realized the commitment that we made to our nation. The oath that I had taken for granted now became a reality to myself and my family. In the early days of the “War on Terror,” German locals brought us food. These kind people offered sympathy for the many American deaths that occurred on US soil and defended our homes as we prepared to deploy to Iraq. I saw a different side of humanity in the early days. I understood that what we were doing was bigger than my platoon of soldiers.
When I deployed, I felt prepared and ready. I just wanted to bring back the platoon of soldiers that deployed with me and many others.
As a soldier who has deployed four times to Iraq, I always felt that the American people were behind us and supported our mission.
Reflecting on my service, I can attest to the strength of American soldiers, the leadership provided by our Division Command team, and our ability to show compassion in the midst of the ugliness we saw ourselves. I should also add that my children learned how important service is to our nation. My service became a source of pride for my kids and my family. My many deployments were, for the most part, positive, and I am very proud to have been given the opportunity to serve in combat.
Brad Feick, Senior Hardware Director
My military journey took me from Basic on Ft. Sill to E&E Training on Warner Robins to joint exercises at Camp Geiger.
The US serviceperson is taught to think for themselves, figure it out, adapt, and overcome. Build teams, make the best of the available resources, and make a plan work. I think the average citizen underestimates the implicit and explicit lessons service teaches.
Mike Van Rassen, President, Military and Government Markets
After spending 20 years in uniform and nearly another 20 years supporting the military, Veterans Day is special to me. While Memorial Day honors those who lost their lives during service to our great country, Veterans Day is a day to celebrate all who have served and really is a celebration of America.
Wearing a uniform is one of the few places in our society where people from all walks of life are thrown together and taught how to be a cohesive element.
My time in service is filled with a complete range of emotions—pain, joy, sorrow, and an incredible amount of laughter. Where else could you be sitting in the back of 2½ ton truck after a training parachute jump at 0400 hours, waiting to get driven back to turn in your weapon—after you’ve been up for 24 hours, and you’re listening to a farm boy from Wisconsin, a kid from the project of East St. Louis, a kid from the Bronx, and a kid from Puerto Rico argue about sports? I forget the sport and the names of the soldiers, but I remember the laughter.
Happy Veterans Day from all of us at Rajant. And a very special Happy Veterans Day to our veterans at Rajant, who risked everything to uphold their sense of duty while serving our country.