As Gulf Power honors its employees who are veterans, two lineworkers at the Gulf Breeze office share a common bond, having both served in the Marine Corps.
Jayde Albert and Clint Stephens, both line technicians I, served in different eras. Jayde served recently while Clint was active during and after the 9/11 attacks.
Clint was on leave when the terrorists struck on 9/11, so he was immediately called back to duty and went to Afghanistan shortly after.
He was in the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion and served two seven-month tours in Afghanistan. Their job was to provide surveillance and key in precision raids.
“We’d find a target, knock down doors, go in and snatch them up,” he said.
Clint joined the Marines right after high school. His father and uncle served in the U.S. Air Force and his cousin served in the U.S. Army. In fact, his uncle wrote programs for the U-2 spy plane.
“Probably the real reason I joined was to get out of the house,” he said.
Clint became a team leader over a five-man team, one of three teams on patrol.
“In raids all three teams would come together,” he said. “We’d do vehicle patrols or drop in by helicopter, scout the site and go in and try to find our target.”
But Clint decided he didn’t like the politics of leadership. He disobeyed an unlawful order from a lieutenant colonel. While he was backed by higher-ups, Clint realized that might not always be the case, so he left when his service time ended in 2004 with the rank of sergeant.
After leaving the Marines, Clint became a lighting technician for Mastec and then joined Gulf Power as a lineworker in 2015.
Clint, 39, says he would recommend military service for young people. He was married in 2009 and adopted his wife’s two sons – one of whom is in Army boot camp now.
Jayde joined the Marine Corps when he was 18 in 2012, continuing a family legacy of service. His maternal grandfather was a master chief in the U.S. Navy for 31 years. His great-grandfather served in World War II. And his brother is serving in the Navy as a helicopter machine gunner.
“After high school, my grades weren’t so good and I saw a marine recruiter and it sounded like something I wanted to do,” he said, “so a week after graduation, I went to boot camp.”
He served in the artillery, “shooting big cannons” and was stationed at Camp Lajuene, N.C. He spent seven months in Okinawa, but was never involved in any military conflicts.
“I made a lot of really good friends in the military,” he said. “You learn how to shoot weapons and the right way to take care of yourself and discipline. It kept me from getting in trouble after high school.”
Jayde got out on the military in 2016 with the rank of corporal.
While he said firing howitzers — which had a range of 28 miles — was cool, he didn’t know what he was going to do when he got out.
“I should have picked another role in the Marines,” he said. “I couldn’t shoot cannons in the civilian world.”
Jayde, 25, applied and was accepted as an apprentice lineworker with Gulf Power in 2016. He says he likes working outdoors. He bought his house with a Veterans Administration loan.
“I enjoyed my time in the Marines,” he said. “The friends I met are stronger than any friends I grew up with around here.”