I entered the military immediately after high school and served for four years.
I accomplished a lot in time.
I was unsure what I wanted to do in the military so my recruiter suggested an “Open Contract.”
The Marine Corps suggested various career paths for which they had needs and I ranked the listed jobs in order of personal preference.
The Marines selected me to be an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) crewman.
I went through the basic 12 weeks of boot camp training at Parris Island, South Carolina, then to a Marine Corps Basic Warfare Training Course in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
After these, I had to do training in specialty areas such as desert warfare, jungle warfare, urban combat training, and guerilla warfare.
Initially my primary job was the care and maintenance of my assigned amphibious assault vehicle (AAV). After various promotions I eventually became the section leader to an Amphibious Assault platoon.
My responsibilities included the care, maintenance and inventory of four multi-million dollar vehicles and their crew members.
I designed and developed training activities, taught classes on various tactics and weaponry and was responsible for the overall combat readiness of my section.
My duty stations included Oceanside (Camp Pendleton), California.
I spent a few months there within the AAV training battalion.
It was here that I learned the capabilities of the AAV.
We drove the vehicles in every type of terrain available in southern California.
We learned the weapon systems of the AAV and spent much time on the shooting ranges.
We also spent classroom time learning, not only about the AAV, but basic tactical maneuvers.
I was also assigned to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
While this was my “Primary Duty Station,” I didn’t spend much time there.
I went from California to North Carolina to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for the first Persian Gulf War.
I also spent some time with an infantry unit in Camp Schwab, Okinawa.
There, I led squad maneuvers and training exercises, inspections, and also conducted night-time jungle training and jungle warfare classes.
After this assignment, I was sent to the USS Sumter and back to my AAV battalion. I visited such countries as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, and also had the opportunity to train with Spanish, Moroccan, and Israeli forces.
The best thing about the Marine Corps was the amount of traveling I was able to do.
How many people, from the ages of 18-22 can say that they spent more time in foreign countries than in the US?
Throughout my tenure in the Marines I visited Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Okinawa, Japan, Spain, Israel, Italy and Turkey.