I became a Marine because I wanted to be part of a legacy. To be part of that club is all I wanted since I was about 10 years old. I was lucky enough to serve my country in an elite organization while feeding my family.
Where We Serve
I became a Marine because I wanted to be part of a legacy. To be part of that club is all I wanted since I was about 10 years old. I was lucky enough to serve my country in an elite organization while feeding my family. How many of us can say that?
I was on my third tour in Afghanistan in a battle for the lower Green Zone of the Sangin River Valley in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. I was closing in on a Taliban machine gun nest, when I stepped on a pressure plate that activated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The area was a twisted maze of poorly planted fields all of which had just been harvested and were getting ready to plant poppy for heroin production and man made irrigation canals. It was all much more lush than what people would expect. The terrain and enemy fire made it difficult for the Marines to coordinate a med-evac for me. My Marines carried me two kilometers in hostile terrain, under fire, to safety.
At one point I thought my life was ruined. I was very unhealthy and PTSD had completely taken over. I was spiraling fast. When you break down the savage nature of war, it’s very essence is kill or be killed. So when I would wake up I’d be overwhelmed with this rage and anger that I couldn’t control or understand and it would stay with me until bedtime, where I was having nightmares to the point that I would stop sleeping. I’d go days without sleep. This went on for years. I don’t know what all of a sudden snapped me out of it. I’d like to think that during my deepest and darkest moments, the Marine that still lived inside of me said “No More”. I started engaging my body physically, slowly and I remembered the legacy I was part of and that failure wasn’t an option.
The perseverance of my brothers is what keeps me motivated. When I think about the 25 Marines who didn’t come home, I feel a responsibility to honor their sacrifice by not wasting my life. Those hero’s effect me every day! The advantage I have is that I have an amazing family to lean on for support. My wife has always been “true north” for me. I would be lost without her!
To anyone else going through a hard time… SPEAK UP! You can’t shoulder that load yourself. Let the people that care for you, do just that. Care. Truly remember who YOU are and value THAT person. Once I started valuing myself as a person I began making healthier life choices.