Today I reached another milestone in my Marine Corps Career. On January 9, 1995, I, along with over sixty other unsuspecting young men from various states west of the Mississippi River set out on a grueling twelve-week journey aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. This life-changing journey would test every bit of our mental and physical strengths and abilities in an effort to try and earn the title, “United States Marine.”
Steph Fowler Photography
So much has happened over these past twenty-two years, yet it seems like just yesterday I was standing fire watch in the middle of the night for my Platoon 1089, Alpha Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion; My Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Smith leading us from the front.
Like that time in 1997 when my unit, MAG-12, and squadron, VMFA(AW)-242 were stuck an extra two weeks in RAAF Base Tindal in Kathryn Australia, because our airlift support was pulled for a higher mission. Then one day, I was given a single C-5 Globemaster to redeploy our personnel and equipment to Japan. As a young Corporal 0431 providing the life support and orchestrating the entire retrograde, I counted this as my first career high and still reflect on how challenging that was. There was nothing that could stop me from that point on.
Or that time back in 2000 when I was serving as the Embarkation Chief for the 5th Marine Regiment – the most highly decorated regiment in the Marine Corps – and I was selected to become a Marine Recruiter. The regiment went on to play a vital role in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. This around the time I would still have been with the unit, but instead I was fighting my own “thirty-six one month battles” on the Homefront as a recruiter in Los Angeles.
In 2006, I finally got to do what most people join the Marines for. I deployed to Iraq with the newly-redesignated 1st Marine Logistics Group (formerly the 1st FSSG). During the six-month deployment, I served as the Combat Operations Center Senior Watch Chief.
In 2008, I found myself back in Camp Al Taqaddum In the Al Anbar Province serving again as the COC Senior Watch Chief and G-3 Chief. This deployment lasted thirteen months.
Right before our convoy to Fallujah
"Dark Tower," Camp Al Taqaddum
Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan
KC-130 with my travel guitar, Afghanistan