"When scary sounds are heard, marines run towards it."
My name is Anonymous and I was a Seargent in the Marines from 2002-2007, and I have since been serving on the National Guard. I’d always known that I would serve – my father was in the navy and I had an uncle in the National Guard. Because my high school ROTC branch was the Marines, I ended up serving there.
I started as a machine gunner in the Marines and then 14 years as a sniper. I served three tours of duty in Iraq, first as part of the invasion of Baghdad and then the second
time in Fallujah in 2004. I fractured my spine in a Humvee rollover when it went over an IED. In
a separate incident, I was lucky to escape with shrapnel wounds when a hand grenade was
thrown at me from just a few feet. The thing about being young is that you think you're immortal, so you just keep pushing through.
My service has really molded my whole life. When scary sounds are heard, marines run towards it. Do what you can in the moments. The marines taught me how to do practically everything, from how to wash clothes by hand to do everything by the numbers. Everything has stuck to me, and it's even getting passed onto my kids. As an African American, I did face a bit of racism, but I moved past it. The people that were racist to me before were just people that weren’t aware of their surroundings. I changed their views during my service, and I made long-lasting friendships and to this day I stay in touch with either Group chats, Facebook groups, you name it. There were people from all over the country.
A lot of the things you do in the military, you initially hate it. There is a lot of rigor. I usually refrain from news and media due to how they skew public views of the military. War is what it is. I still have my duties as an NG. I don't have an opinion of war because it would impact my work.
While a veteran never knows how to respond to thanks for service, I am definitely proud of what I have accomplished. I feel like I am simply doing my duty to my country, and I am just another guy next to everyone else. Now I am training the newer generation of warriors.