Veterans Day Profile: Jason D.

Military Service

U.S. Marine Corps – Infantry – Recruiter. Served 10 years, 7 months and 6 days

What led you to join the military?

Two answers:  My mom said that when we got out of high school, we can stay home for free as long as we had a job or went to college. I did not want to go to college. I had several friends who had gone through boot camp and were trying to recruit me and I’d say no. One time, we went to the mall to talk to girls and the next thing I know, at the top of the stairs and I was blindsided and there was recruiter’s office. I talked to him and the next day, the recruiter went to my first period class and from then on, I was in. My mom did not know and after school, I told my mom and she talked to my recruiter for 3 hours and she asked him when was I leaving!

How has your military service impacted your life?

I was 17 years old and after boot camp, which was the worst 3 months of my life, I wanted to quit. My father who was also a Marine, told me to remember why I joined to get me through. I wanted to quit so, I stuck through it and told myself that I was going to finish and I grew up fast and I also wanted to protect life. After 18 years from those days at boot camp, I still have strong ties with people from there. You learn to be selfless and I do not regret any of it!

What was your greatest challenge in the military?

After my recruiter tour, I went to a new unit and became a squad leader, I was in charge of 13 Marines and it was my job to get them ready for combat and it was impactful to be responsible to teach them to not only do combat but to stay alive. About a month before deployment, I broke my leg and I was told that I could not go on deployment so, I was stressing wondering if had I done my job good enough, if I trained the Marines effectively to do their jobs so they can come home in one piece.

What is something you learned in the military that you still use today?

If I am hungry, I can find anything in the house and make a meal out of it. I use the work ethic and determination to do the right thing and get the job done.