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Memorial day is here and we decided to do something special for our readers. If you are in the military or are a veteran, you may have noticed we bumped up the military discount on our site this month to 35% in recognition of this national holiday. We’ve also put together an interview of a veteran of our Nation’s Air Force who is a current vaper today. Former E4 Senior Airman Hoyt Dingus speaks about his time in the military, and his reasons for becoming a vape enthusiast. We hope you enjoy the interview as much as we enjoyed learning about his experiences ourselves.
Thanks for joining us Hoyt and taking the time to conduct this interview for our readers.
Of course, thanks for having me!
So I’m going to dive right in here with some questions about your time in the military. Can you state your exact rank, title, and briefly explain what your role was in the Airforce?
I was an E4 (Enlisted rank 4) Senior Airman and I worked as a Satellite wideband and telemetry systems technician, or Satcom for short.
This may be a weighted question, so answer it however you like. What does Memorial Day mean to you?
For me, it is a day where we should celebrate the fact that we have the freedoms that we do. I would encourage anyone to spend that day however you choose, whether it’s sitting on the couch or if you want to party and hang out with friends and family, it’s a day to celebrate life. Don’t get me wrong, some people who have lost family members or friends in service to the country, it’s a day to remember them too, but at the same time, me as a veteran, I feel it’s more important to honor them by continuing to practice the freedom we have every day. As a member of the military we took an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States, it lays out your rights and your rights are important. A lot of people don’t exercise them. Even when you leave the military, that oath doesn’t go away, you are still supporting and defending it. Now I do it in a different way, I use my words instead of force or violence. I speak out as someone who has fought and lived to defend it. Without that piece of paper, everything in this country is meaningless. It’s a day I’m happy to be free, and I’m happy to spend with my family and I’m just lucky enough to be here to celebrate it with my family.
Thank you for that detailed answer. Next, When you were in the military, and now that you’re a veteran, how did you spend Memorial Day, and how do you spend it now?
Most holidays are a reason to drink and have a barbecue and that’s what we do. Anybody that has served that is no longer with us, that’s what they would want us to be doing. Typically during anything official, they would have a flag ceremony during the day, but by noon the squadron is having a picnic, a keg, beach volleyball since I was stationed in Tampa Florida. I typically do the same thing now, drink beer, have a barbecue with friends and chill out and relax. For me it’s not anything out of the norm, basically surrounding myself with family and friends and having a good time eating good food and playing games.
Most of my friends outside of the military are either veterans themselves or come from families of veterans and we all celebrate this way. Even when you’re in the military your brothers in arms become your family and that doesn’t stop when you leave the military.
If you could change one thing about the average citizen’s view of memorial day, what would it be?
Back to my point of defending the constitution, they are exercising their rights to spend the day any way they want as long as they aren’t imposing on other people’s rights. Where your rights stop is where my rights begin, you can’t impede on another citizen’s rights and that’s what I fought to protect. Some people have different opinions as people who serve because when we’re in, we have to adhere to rules. If you want to observe it, fine, if not, fine, that’s your right and you are living your life and that’s what we fight to protect.
What was the reason you joined the military?
When I joined it was a fairly short time after we had just experienced 9-11. I went into the delayed entry program around December 2005 or January 2006. We were heavy in the Iraq war at the time, 9-11 was a few years prior and there was just a lot of things going on. I’ve always been a fairly political person and I wanted perspective on the world. I wanted to know what our country was doing in other countries and whether or not we were making a difference while we were there. I lived in a small town in Virginia called Clintwood. It’s a very small town, coal country, salt of the earth Southern Virginia. When you’re born in a sheltered place like that, you don’t know what the rest of the world has to off or what’s going on. You only have what the media is telling you so I wanted to get our in the world and see things on my own without the bias of media or what my parents tell me or friends tell me influencing my opinion. I wanted my own opinion and my own thoughts on things. Now that might seem counterproductive going into the military where you don’t get to have an opinion. You’re certainly allowed to have your own opinion yourself, but you aren’t allowed to voice it. So I kept my mouth shut and I felt it was important to go out into the world and gain some perspective, and the military was a great way to travel the world. I visited Baghdad, Kuwait, Qatar, Ireland, Germany, and many other places that don’t bear mentioning because I wasn’t there for very long. I just wanted to grow as a person and become the man I am today.
How long have you vaped?
I have been vaping on and off since 2010. I think I started with a voodoo or blue, I don’t remember it, and I don’t think they are around anymore. I started on cigalikes but they didn’t work. Now I’m on pod systems primarily because they are more like a cigarette than anything else in terms of the draw and satisfaction. I still use a box mod and RDA, but the pod systems have been the biggest help to get me off traditional nicotine products.
What is your favorite flavor or flavor profile?
In all honesty, I'm pretty open, I don’t care for tobacco vapes but I really like a little of everything else. I don’t like custards that are too eggy, but I would say the best vape I have ever had and would vape all day if I could afford it is POA (Pony On Acid) by SMAX E-Liquid. Watermelon vapes are good too, but if they are too perfumy then I get a headache. I'm using the Njoy ace right now and I really like the watermelon twist from them. That’s what I’m currently vaping the most. The problem with me is I need to find an ADV that’s affordable and unfortunately, the juice I like is a bit out of my price range.
Did you use alternate tobacco products before you started vaping?
I have been smoking cigarettes since I was 18.
What made you switch?
...I tried to quit when I left the military (because quitting in the military is impossible, too much socialization around the smoke pit) So many people smoke in the military, it gets me out of the office, I get a break, go have fun, relax, it’s the social act of doing it that really was a big problem for cutting it out. Vaping was like, I can still have the social side of it but I won’t have the same bad effects as smoking cigarettes. I’m also a tech nerd so anything techy and collectible and vaping filled both criteria so it really checked all my boxes for me to get into it. I’m not quite as into it as I used to be, I used to spend tons of money on it but now I’m a bit more cost conscious. I have like four hex ohms and those are my ride or dies, I always go back to them.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to answer our questions Hoyt, your answers were as thorough and enlightening as we could have hoped for.
No problem at all, I’m happy I was able to help.
We here at eLiquid.com truly appreciate you taking the time to read our interview with one of our nation's veterans. Our roundup for chartiy event is still going through the end of the month, so consider rounding up your next order and all of the proceeds will be donated to Veteran’s Village Las Vegas.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day from us at eLiquid.com.
Hoyt was gracious enough to allow us to host links to his various social media accounts, along with his twitch.tv where he streams up to five times a week. He said he welcomes anyone who wants to talk to him regarding the interview, or if you just want to reach out and thank him for his service.
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