Commander Stephen Anderson
Updated: Feb 17, 2020
"Our veterans have been neglected by the government and the public. They should get their act together in Washington and they need to talk to their veterans more."
My name is Stephen Anderson and I served in the Army from 1978—1982 as a tank gunner and commander. I joined the Army because I wanted to serve my country, patriotism. I love my country. My step-dad and cousins served. My younger brother as well. Friends from high school who I helped influence. For me adapting to military life was not a problem - It was not a big change from life. I played sports and worked in my parents’ restaurant, so I had work ethics and athleticism. In the military, I learned to respect. Even if you didn’t like your superior officers, you had to show your respect. “Yes sir, no sir.” Civilian life is so different. Lose your job? Go out the next day and find another one.
Germany was where I served overseas and we were on border duty, between east and west. We were protecting the border in case something happened. If civilians tried to escape from the Communists, we were there to help. If war broke out, we were there to suppress. In 1981, there was a show of force. On the hill in our view, we saw a large number of tanks, helicopters, etc. We were on high alert. A lot of people don’t understand that when you saw people trying to escape east to west, they were getting shot at. Some stray bullets even went by us. On days where there are fireworks, I still look around frantically wondering what it is. I believe that it’s our job to protect other civilians. We have always protected other countries’ civilians, but I feel that we should also be supporting our people as well. Our veterans have been neglected by the government and the public. They should get their act together in Washington and they need to talk to their veterans more. There are no programs out there that support veterans that are injured and can’t work. I fall into that category, and it took a year and a half to get my social security and army disability raised. I loved my time. If today there were issues at the border, I would more than definitely want to serve again.