Appleton, Wis. (WFRV) – John Foss can’t tell you too much about what he did after joining the Army in 2006 as a Cryptologic Linguist, but he can tell you why after college, he joined.
“The biggest thing was 9/11, After 9/11, it was just kind of a big shock to my generation. We felt kind of safe in our little bubble here in America, we didn’t think we could ever be attacked, and it just brought this giant sense of patriotism amongst my friends at least,” Foss recalled.
Deployed to Afghanistan twice, Foss gathered intelligence, but that’s really all he can say.
“Collecting information, making sure our troops were safe, and finding out where the bad guys were,” said Foss.
After his second tour in Afghanistan, Foss worked for the National Security Agency as the Army Language Manager before leaving the military in 2011.
He admits- the transition back to civilian life wasn’t easy.
“It was a mess, it was a giant mess. Just trying to figure out who you are and what you want to do in life, and how to move forward,” Foss said.
One of the ways Foss moved forward- getting involved in other veterans groups. He started with the Desert Veterans of Wisconsin Chapter in Green Bay.
“I really missed, just the camaraderie of being around other soldiers, other veterans and I needed that, I needed to relate to somebody and it helped a lot meeting other people who have been there and done the same things,” he said.
It helped Foss so much in fact, that he decided to start his own Desert Veterans of Wisconsin Chapter in the Fox Valley, where he lives today.
“We just wanted to represent our home town and start one here and it grew super fast the first year, I think we went from five members to almost 50 in a year,” said Foss.
Foss has been with the DVW Fox Valley chapter since 2015, and he says if there’s anything he learned from the whole process, it’s to surround yourself with those who build you up.
“It’s okay to reach out, it’s okay to say you’re having issues, it’s okay to look for guidance, to go to the VA,” Foss said.
“You know, there are groups out there and some people may be embarrassed that they’re experiencing these things when they come home and people might think they’re weak, but it’s okay, we’ve all gone through it,” he said.
Foss is now a realtor, the career path he had hoped for before joining the military. He specializes in helping veterans find homes with their VA home loans.