I am a U.S. Marine and Iraq War veteran originally from Manheim, Pennsylvania. I also have a special place in my heart for my adopted home: South Philadelphia, where I lived for a while after leaving the military. I grew up in a middle class conservative family, attending church every Sunday, delivering newspapers on my paper route and working on my uncle’s pig farm. A few months after graduating high school the infamous events of September 11th, 2001 took place, and shortly after I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and shipped off to basic training within a few weeks. I had never planned on joining the military prior to then and was never an exceptionally aggressive person, but that’s what I wanted to do, so I did it.
After returning to civilian life, I spent a considerable amount of time in well-intended community organizations trying to make the world a better place. Some of the positions I held:
- Chairman of Senator Mike Brubaker’s Veterans Advisory Committee
- Board of Directors, Manheim SERTOMA Club
- Pennsylvania State Committee Chairman, Veterans of Foreign Wars
- Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5956
- Assistant Quartermaster, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5956
While in the Marines, I attended the Center for Naval Cryptology in Pensacola, Florida twice. First, to attain my primary MOS of Special Communications Signals Collection Operator (2621), and again for my secondary MOS of Cryptologic Digital Network Technician (2611). While there for the second time, I received a Meritorious Mast from the Marine detachment’s commanding officer for my academic performance and class placement. I was actually one of the first Marines to get the coveted 2611 MOS, and most of my technical knowledge comes from it – it was an awesome opportunity, and I learned quite a bit.
The rest of my CONUS time was spent aboard MCB Camp Lejeune with 2nd Radio Battalion, but I got a few sweet TAD assignments to Fort Meade, Blackwater, et al. which helped break the monotony. My two deployments to Iraq were primarily spent in Fallujah (2004-2005) and Ramadi (2006-2007) as part of a SCST team, but I traveled around Iraq pretty extensively throughout the first tour. The only time I really stayed stationary in Fallujah for a significant amount of time was for the Second Battle of Fallujah, aka Phantom Fury.
I was honorably discharged as a Sergeant immediately after returning from my second tour.