What Veteran's Day Means To Me


This is me up-leveling a past post and sharing myself a bit more deeply. 

And maybe this post comes the day after veterans day because it is a holiday I struggle with. 

This picture was taken on November 10th, 2014.

I am smiling though I am not happy. 

I am struggling with anxiety and depression and at the moment was uncertain of what to do with my life. 

4 months after this picture was taken, I will threaten my XO with violence. 

The day after I will knock on my COs door and do my best to tell him how I am unable to do my job anymore. 

How I do not believe in what we do and how I cannot push myself to be a part of it anymore. 

Tears streaming down my face. 

I am not 100% honest with him that day though. 

I was ashamed and avoided sharing the daily thoughts I suffered through. 

The imagined and considered action of yanking the wheel hard on the freeway and crashing my truck to avoid another day of going to the boat. 

I didn't know if I would die, but I did know that I could avoid the pain of that place and who I was to continually choose into it.  

I skipped that decision hundreds of times. 

I bring this up now, because I believe that so many of us who serve join out of some sort of necessity or fear and most of us stay in for similar reasons. 

I somehow managed to make it to the end when so many others don't.

I managed to find who I am and commit to my life's most important work. 

I am figuring out day by day how to play a bigger game and risk more with the things I love. 

I want to help those transitioning, or those considering their next steps with military service. 

I would love to have a real conversation with you about who you are, your why, and what your dreams are. 

There is a way to get them. 

We were trained to not believe that any of that is possible. 

I was told over and over how I will never find a job as good as submarining. 

I was told, there is nothing better on the outside. 

"What do you think you are going to do?"

Over and over, shamed for wanting more.

And when I finally stood up and told my truth, shamed by those whom I thought were closest to me. 

None of it was true. 

There is a bigger game you could be playing.

A bigger version of you that is actually worth putting your life on the line for. 

If this resonates with you, let's talk. 

If this may resonate with someone you know, let's talk. 

I want to help whomever I can. 

And maybe save a life or two in the process. 

Comment on this post if you'd like to connect.

If you would like to keep it confidential, please email me at

I look forward to sharing.


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My 9/11 Story

I was on a nuclear submarine in the Indian Ocean about 6 hours away from the Suez Canal the day the attacks took place.

Whatever it is, you can Google it.

YOU BETTER ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE! This is a common phrase we hear growing up as kids. And one that doesn't generally come with an instruction manual. I spent 20 years in the Navy and there was a manual


Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

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©2020 Ryan Charaba - First Wakeups LLC