From military boots to civilian shoes
Interviewing Brandon Bettis was no exception to the honor and privilege it is to learn about Veterans’ Mission to Serve. Brandon is a husband, father, and soldier whose mission is to intentionally help others and live a life of purpose.
Brandon’s motivation for joining the military was greatly influenced by his dad who served in the United States Special Forces, a journey that isn’t easy. The training is rigorous and for those who make it through gain a courage and strength that stays with them their entire life. The pride and dedication to serve in the Army was passed on to the next generation. Brandon’s dad would have been happy with whatever branch Brandon chose to join, but he told Brandon that a little piece of him would have died had Brandon not chosen the Army.
In the interview with Brandon, it didn’t take long to realize that he shares the same military pride and honor as his dad. As an Army Infantry Major, one of the most dangerous military jobs on the battlefield, he was responsible to be the manager, problem solver, key influencer and planner to lead Enlisted Soldiers during land combat. These soldiers live in the trenches with threat that surrounds them daily. Brandon jokingly said, “After seeing the living accommodations of the Air Force, maybe I should have joined the USAF.” But with all kidding aside Brandon continued, “I wouldn’t change my decision to join the Army if I could. I’m not a religious person but I believe every person is put on earth for a reason. Everyone has a purpose for their existence.”
As Brandon intimately knows, every purpose is linked to inevitable challenge. From common obstacles all Soldiers face to the unique hurdles of Infantrymen to the complications experienced in the military family life, the barriers encountered have the power to take control as an enemy on a battlefield. Steadfastness and courage are a must to stay on course with one’s Mission to Serve. In sharing his greatest challenge, Brandon said, “Being a big guy, competition with smaller people was a huge challenge. Everything from cockpits and vehicles to the standards for physical training was a hurdle to conquer. At 6’6” and weighing 240 pounds at deployment, I was anything but average. If the Army judged my physical fitness on how much I could carry on my back or lift, I would’ve had no issues and I would’ve been a superstar! However, the Army Infantry typically judges Soldiers on pushups, pullups, and running. Those were all metrics where size is at a disadvantage.” Brandon shared his favorite story to reveal his determination to overcome his size challenge. He said, “I was the first to graduate my Airborne School class… despite being the last one out the plane! I joked that we all used the same parachute, but while I was hurdling towards the earth with my extra weight, the 120-pound Soldiers were enjoying the view as they slowly floated down. The same can be said when I was a Bradley Commander. Getting in and out of the turret was like crawling through a doggy door.”
When Brandon discharged from the active duty, a whole new set of challenges to overcome arose. He said, “After being in the military for 10 years, I transitioned into a civilian career. I had a lot of mental hurdles to overcome. The military life is all about connection and camaraderie with your fellow soldiers. I felt disconnected. The loss of team and support system vanished. It felt like I was on my own with no one to turn to for help.” When asked how he was able to overcome that barrier Brandon said, “I joined a team and got myself some networking partners. I miss the military culture where you can walk in a room and everyone has the same mentality. I’m a big believer in identifying the why behind everything. My why is about helping people. I miss being around soldiers and helping to mold and develop the new kid and the team, but my civilian career gives me great satisfaction. Financial Planning is what I do. I have no desire to do anything else. I feel like I’m still serving.”
Brandon’s resiliency, persistence and courage on the civilian battlefield is what enabled him to overcome the barriers that threatened to take him captive. He refused to succumb to the challenges and instead got involved in work that best utilized the strengths that were developed in the military. He said, “The strengths that were developed in me were resilience to face a mission and complete it, overcome failure, and overcome mental hurdles.” These strengths that Brandon used every day in the military are the same strengths that helped him transition to the civilian workplace, empower him in his civilian career, and serve as the leader of the Military Affairs Committee in his community.
When asked what words of wisdom Brandon could share with transitioning Veterans and employers hiring Veterans, he said, “Veterans, find a mentor; someone who cares about what you want to do and go do it. Employers, find out what motivates them and what they want to do, then plug them in to where their skills best fit.
Brandon Bettis, we salute you for your Mission to Serve. Thank you for your service, your commitment to your local community, and allowing CORE Advantage, LLC the honor and priviliege to interviewing and posting your Mission to Serve story.