Meet Jon – SABP's Own Veteran

Jon Says hi 1. Why did you join the Marines and when did you enlist? Honestly, I knew I wasn't well prepared for life once graduating from high school. I was just an average student with “Okay” grades and I knew community college would swallow me whole in an instant without having a sense of direction. So I made the decision of joining the United States Marine Corp. in hopes of it helping me have some sort of focus in life, help me see the world through a different perspective and gain confidence with myself. August 13th, 2010 is when I swore in to defend our Nations Constitution and November 15th was the beginning of recruit training to become a United States Marine. 2. How long did you train and then how long were you in Afghanistan? I enlisted on the reserve side, after about 6 months working with my unit, there was an open spot and I got asked if I wanted to be part of a possible deployment to Bahrain. Of course saying “Yes” I jumped on with training November 2011 and started preparing for a yearlong tour but come February it was tanked. Being on the reserves has its pros and cons and one con is that if there’s no money, you can’t have too many Marines on active duty orders so once everyone knew this tour wasn’t going to happen we had the choice to stay and serve out our original activation time or return to the reserve status. For the few that stayed and with a short budget, our unit found the means of being able to pay us along with an opportunity to deploy to Afghanistan but only for 3 months maximum. 3. What was your position what did you do when you were there? My Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is 3043 a Supply Administration and Operations Specialist, pretty much just supply haha. Within the job it’s broken down more into different billets/job roles, to summarize it’s ordering/receiving gear and properties/administration clerk. Once deployed I was the Properties Clerk in charge of and keeping track all the equipment we claimed we physically had and use, everything from binoculars and riot gear to vehicles and storage bins (storage fridges/freezers). With that being said it gave me the opportunity to actually go out on convoys because there were other outside Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) that fell under the unit we became attached with. 4. Did you see combat and what was it like to be in that sort of environment? For the few of us that deployed, we were blessed and fortunate that none of us were involved in any type of combat/fire fight scenario. At the same time, in a weird unexplainable way, we were anxious, wanting and waiting for something to happen, for someone to throw down, especially after all the training and preparations you do for it, but nothing happened during our time there. No matter how much you train, you still don’t have any idea of what to expect so if we were involved in a fire fight, no one knows if we all would have returned safe and uninjured or not. 5.  Is there a chance you could be deployed again? There are always deployment opportunities; you just have to look for that opening but being in the reserves there’s a very slim chance. 6. Do you have plans to continue a career in the military? I wouldn't say I really do, I’m just working to the best of my abilities and learning as much as I can to earn my promotions and have the opportunity to reenlist before my time is up. 7. What was the most rewarding experience of your tour and what was the worse? Just the opportunity to see and travel to another country would be the most rewarding experience for me. Too see the poverty some Afghans suffer through, getting to know their customs and courtesies, and observing how some just get by with every passing day makes me feel grateful we live in a nation where we truly are free to make something out of ourselves with the unlimited amount of tools and resources it offers. I can’t really say there was a bad experience because I took so much from it but if I had to pick I would say it was when I got sick for two days. 8. If you had it to do all over again would you make the same choice and why? This was the only question that made me say "I don't know" because I really don't know if I were to make the exact same choices and steps, would the outcome have been the same or not. It's unpredictable over there and we can only control so little of it. 9. If you can give advice to young man or woman considering a career in the military, what would that be? I couldn't really say because every branch is different and demands different expectations from you but this lies true. If you’re fast, efficient, tactful, knowledgeable and willing to learn people will notice your determination and know you are a reliable person who is ready to take on greater responsibilities other then what you're already tasked with. If there's anything else you'd like to ask or get more into detail with a specific question, feel free to ask. I'm an open book about this subject. V/R Jonathan Aragon JAragon@sabp.com