After returning from the Country of Georgia, I was slated to attend “Sergeant’s Course.” This course was designed for training Marines to be Sergeants of the Marine Corps at the Staff Academy. During my time at Sergeant’s Course, I was assigned the duty of Class 1st Sergeant. I was responsible for ensuring that all the students were present and accounted for, getting the class of about 100 students to from classes, training, and other events through out the course.
After graduating from Sergeant’s Course, I return to Charlie Company. I completed about 3 more cycles with Charlie company before being selected to be a Platform Instructor around the summer of 2011. As a Platform instructor, I was tasked to the Offensive Fundamentals section, responsible for training companies in Offensive Fundamentals and other aspects of Infantry Training for 0311 riflemen.
While I was a Platform instructor, I accomplished the following:
- Taught well over 100 hours worth of instruction.
- Led about the same number of hours worth of in the field training, conducting Over 50 live fire and maneuver ranges and several weeks worth of patrolling and field operation training.
- Revamped the periods of instruction, including creating animated Power Point Presentations to improve the understanding of Offensive Tactics.
- Supervised the conduct of testing for this section of the course.
- Trained roughly 600 Marines in the conduct of the periods of instruction and field operations.
While a Platform Instructor, my hours became much more manageable. At his point, I began considering getting out of the Marine Corps at the end of my enlistment given the political environment of the time. I began taking night classes at Coleman University in San Marcos, California in Web Media Design.
Between 2010 and 2011, I began to work off base during the off time we had between training cycles. I worked with a friend of mine that I served in Afghanistan with to build Ares Armor, a company that provided “tactical” gear and accessories for Military and Law Enforcement. We also manufactured our own gear as well. While working at Ares Armor, I assisted whenever I could get off of work while on Active Duty. During this time I worked with a Marine Corps Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) unit to develop a customized pack just for them.
This relationship resulted in the development of a new product line for Ares Armor, and really improved the reputation of Ares Armor as a small company, and aided in the fast paced growth of the company. This action gained me tremendous experience in the process of starting a small business, but also in Project Management as oriented for Product Design and Development. During this time I learned a the following skills:
- Product Design through working directly with the customer to identify their needs, necessary functions, specifications, and requirements.
- Development of a product from initial drawings to the production of a working prototype.
- Determine cost allocation, identifying what would be needed for production, and building a system for improving the product over time.
- Working closely with the Unit to determine the effectiveness of the product and working to improve the product where it came up short.
- Successfully closing out the project with the complete satisfaction of the customer and development a relationship that continued on with the production of a new product line that lasted the following years.
My time working at Ares Armor included many other areas of experience. Mostly in working sales and communicating with customers to determine their needs and how best to meet them. I worked marketing to a small degree, developing videos that talked about our products and developing ways to get the word out about the company. I learned a great deal while at Ares Armor, but after about a year of “off and on” working there due to my responsibilities on Active Duty, I ending up leaving to complete my Active Duty service after about a year of working with that company. The CEO and other team members are wonderful guys who I enjoyed working with, and I learned a great deal during my time with that company.
During this period of time, we had a command change occur. With command change, came changes within the different elements of the Infantry Training Battalion, and the School of Infantry as a whole. Unfortunately, I was tasked with doing a desk job at the Student Administration Company, loving referred to as “SAC” company.
I was placed in charge of handling a platoon of Marines who had been injured during training and were recovering from their injuries while awaiting a medical discharge. I was also placed in charge of those Marine who were deemed unfit to serve for a variety of reasons that I do not feel comfortable speaking about.
During this period, I spent a great deal of time behind a desk, and very little in the field. As my muscles weakened from the many years of hiking with 100 pounds worth of gear on me, and daily physical training, I began to feel extraordinary pain. After visiting with doctors and having a number of exams done, I discovered I had some very serious injuries that required major surgery.
By April of 2012, I had two major surgeries done, and was placed under Medical Review. I was then transferred to the Wounded Warrior Battalion while awaiting the decision of the board with regards to my ability to remain on Active Duty or not.