Learning from past, striving for CHANGE

By Amy PhillipsFebruary 23, 2024

U.S. Army Civilian Shylon Green
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Civilian Shylon Green was the Fort Hunter Liggett Black History Month speaker and is shown speaking with a participant after event, February 22, 2024. He has been working at FHL since 2011 and is the Antiterrorism Officer. He enjoys the close-knit environment at FHL and says, “It’s a family here. We really do care for each other.” (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army Reserve Soldier Sgt. 1st Class Shylon Green
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Reserve Soldier Sgt. 1st Class Shylon Green receives a Command Coin from U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Benedict for his critical role in setting up the many events for the 351st Civil Affairs Command Best Team Competition held at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, February 8, 2024. The 4-day competition included events such as the Army Combat Fitness Test, land navigation, an obstacle course, and airborne operations, to name a few. (Courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL

Shylon Green, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, shares his journey from being the only black kid in the neighborhood and facing racism, struggling to find himself as a young adult, joining the military, and a very dark time when he lost everything dear to him. He did not stay down long and gained the strength to seek CHANGE and better himself. He is an Army Reserve Soldier with the 351st Civil Affairs Command and an Army Civilian at Fort Hunter Liggett (FHL) making a difference every day.

Born in New Jersey and raised in New Mexico, he has traveled far and wide through his military and civilian careers. And through his travels, challenges and accomplishments, Green is guided by learning from the past and continually striving for CHANGE.

CHANGE was Green’s focus as the guest speaker of the FHL’s Black History Month observance. “CHANGE is an acronym, not just a word,” said Green.

C – continuously

H – having


N – new

G – growth

E – experience

As a child, he experienced “tough love” from his parent which only as an adult, did he understand the importance of why it was needed. Green says he has “beautiful parents, beautiful souls.” But “I’m a ‘test the water’ type of person,” said Green, acknowledging that he was a handful as a child. And moving from a predominantly black population of Elizabeth, New Jersey to Clovis, New Mexico, where he was the only black kid in the neighborhood only fueled his propensity to get in trouble.

The Green family, who moved for a better environment, faced racism as the only black family in the area. Being an introvert, Green says he tried to internalize it but sometimes anger got the better of him and was galvanized to “act out.”

Green says he had to learn a new way to speak and fit in a white community. There was a bright light though as he recalls a preschool teacher, Ms. Hawkins, who was “beautiful and caring” and showed him that not everyone was bad.

“I think I have scars from this period, but it helped shape and strengthen me.” He says he learned many “life lessons that I still carry around today.”

At his parents’ urging, Green went to college but quickly found out it wasn’t for him. “I was all over the place,” he said. He found he couldn’t stay focused, didn’t have any goals and was doing things he shouldn’t be doing. Green credits his parents for always being supportive, no matter what he tried, such as dancing and music. “They just wanted me to be a successful, good person,” said Green.

Green said being the stubborn person he is, he “just got in his own way” and “was doing a lot of things that just was not good. I wish I grew up mentally as fast as I grew up physically.”

His life-changing epiphany came one day when he woke up yearning for more out of life and wanting to be a better person. He was ready for a positive CHANGE. “I think it was a blessing from up above,” said Green.

Green went to a recruiter and enlisted in the Air Force at 23-years of age.

He shipped off to basic training on February 14, 1996, and headed to Lackland Air Force Base, San Atonio, Texas.

His first duty station was at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, working in Security Forces. Green says he wanted to be in law enforcement at an early age because he liked the prestige, respect, and helping people.

Green enjoyed the beautiful environment, the people, the food, and his job. But it turned out that he still hadn’t quite matured yet to make responsible choices. “If I would have put the energy to being a professional, as I did partying,” Green commiserated. He served 2.5 years in the security forces until he was injured and discharged.

So, he went back to his parents, and they welcomed him back “with open arms until I figured things out.” It was another rough patch in Green’s life journey. “Life was very challenging in 2000 and 2001. It was the worst years in my life. I lost everything,” said Green. “God gives you hints that change is needed and if you don't listen, he will sit you down. And he sat me down.” He was finally ready for a real and meaningful change.

Picking himself up, he applied for his first government job in 2001, and landed a security job at Onizuka Air Force Station. He says that’s where he learned a lot about work ethics and himself. “I got out of the mud and started surrounding myself with successful people,” said Green. “You must be willing to change. If you’re not willing to listen and take criticism, then there’s no moving forward.”

In 2007, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve for a second chance in the military. He was a Patient Administration Specialist (68G) but discovered he didn’t like the hospital environment and not being actively engaged all the time. He wanted a job that had more action and a chance for growth. So, he changed to the Civil Affairs (38B) career track in 2013. “It was a welcomed challenge to learn new things,” said Green. He also enjoys helping people.

Green continues to be an Army Reserve Civil Affairs Soldier and relishes how the job keeps him on his toes. “You have to think outside the box because you never know what you will come into contact with,” said Green. He says his job takes him around the world and it is a humbling experience to see how other people in the world live. “People tend to take things for granted in this country, from simple things like conducting this interview and being able to speak freely,” said Green. He says he’s learned to “stop whining about the small things.”

On Sept 11, 2011, Green joined the FHL Law Enforcement as the security officer responsible for the installation physical security program. He became a Police Officer in 2013-2015 after graduating from the U.S. Army Military Police Academy. He credits former Leonard Lovett, Dave Fullmer and Charles Walker as mentors who helped guide his growth.

In 2015, Green joined the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security to learn more about installation operations. He says the different jobs at FHL have taught him to be flexible, to go beyond just finding a problem and seek the answers to solve the problem.

His proudest achievement is “his heartbeats” – his children. Becoming a dad “slowed me down and it stopped being about me,” said Green. “They bring me the energy and love that keeps me fighting.” Green looks back at the lessons learned throughout his journey in life and tries to support and guide his children so they can have the best life possible and be their best selves.