Theme 2

September18, 2003

Many lives were changed on September11, 2001. My life was affected in three major ways: first, my unit was deployed early in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; secondly, I was sent to Afghanistan and never got to do what I was sent to do; and third the skills that I received in the Marine Corps got me highly recruited by the Department of Homeland security and most federal law enforcement agencies.

Every Marine Corps infantry battalion is deployed overseas every eighteen months. I was a member of weapons company 1st Battalion 4th Marines during the terrorist attacks that took place on September11, 2001. We were scheduled to deploy in January of 2002, due to the terrorist attacks we were forced to leave December 1st. We had to hurry and finish the necessary training and get all of our equipment and personnel ready to leave the country in two months. This was not an easy task since we had twelve hundred marines plus all of the helicopters, artillery pieces, tanks, planes, hummers and all of the other equipment that it takes to fight a war. It was a hectic two months especially since the security level of the base was raised and everyone was pulling extra security duty on top of the regular work we were doing. We were able to get ready and leave in time to spend Christmas on board a ship in the Indian Ocean waiting to go ashore in Afghanistan.

We arrived off the coast of Pakistan in late December and sat waiting to go ashore and join our brothers from 1st battalion 1st Marines. We were supposed to relieve them in place since they were the first unit on the ground in Afghanistan. After sitting on the ship for several weeks and making one trip into northern Pakistan as part of a security element. General Tommy Franks turned the entire operation over to the Army and all the Marines were pulled out of country in mid-January. We rushed halfway across the world for nothing, it would seem. After been removed from Afghanistan we were sent over to Africa. Africa at the time was thought to be the target on the list in the war against terrorism. We executed some missions in Africa and were then called back to Afghanistan to help the Army out of the fiasco that was called Operation Anaconda. Once again we got to sit off the shore and do nothing. The army was only interested in us sending our Cobra attack helicopters. Years of training and acquiring skills that has no place outside the military wasted by sitting on a ship.

When I got back from deployment there were a lot of people that were after me for the skills I thought were wasted. The formation of the Office of Homeland Security opened up a lot of options that did not previously exist. The counter-terrorism training that I had was now in high demand and the federal government was hiring. Over the course of two months I received job offers from the Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Federal Air Marshall program the Federal Marshall Office, Immigration and Naturalization services and numerous state and local police agencies as well as private security firms. It was a hard decision not to take some of these jobs. During my time in Marine Corps was afforded the opportunity to work with and train some of the personnel in these agencies in counter-terrorism tactics, personal protection procedures and close-quarters battles technique. I had a good relationship with the agents that I worked with and they knew my skills and through that many doors were open for me. I felt it more important to go to college and then if that is the route I chose I already have a foot in the door.

My life did not change significantly like others that were affected by the events of 9-11. Some of the changes were immediate and short term like my early deployment and potential of being sent into combat in Afghanistan. Other changes were long term for instance being recruited by federal law enforce agencies and private security firms. I sure that my life