TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - William Jackson
(photo left) recently reached his
end of active service in the Marine Corps. He spent the majority of
his career as a combat correspondent and broadcaster for the Combat
In William Jackson's own words...
The Marine Corps has taught me that I am very capable
of overcoming adversity at any level. It's also taught me that I'm
grateful my mother raised me to be a better person than some
individuals I've come across.
Momo and Popo are my
grandparents. When my brother was a kid, he couldn't say grandpa and
grandma. I guess it runs in the family because I couldn't say his
name, Javier, just Javi. Anyways, the nicknames stuck eventually.
Everyone either calls them that or by their first names, Julia and
Ted is the greatest stuffed animal I know. I'm pretty
sure he could schmooze his way into any home and be a perfect
addition. He was made by my great grandma when I was born. That
little thing has been through some interesting experiences.
I started playing hockey at a young age. I remember
buying skates before buying shoes. It's always been around.
I lost a tooth from crashing a motorcycle after saving a
woman from a burning building. Women love the dangerous
side. Ok, that's not true. I lost two teeth and a lot of the
feeling in my tongue because I took a puck to the face.
My doctor, Lt. Green, was honest with me. He said I
couldn't get a gold tooth because I was a Red Wings fan. I
think I ruined playoffs for him by getting my teeth knocked
out but oh well, Blackhawks won anyway. I had an awesome
doctor fix me up from start to finish. He was a great guy.
I'd have to say the most memorable part of playing
hockey out here was just skating with guys of different
ranks and ages from the base, just being able to go skate
and compete, win. Those guys are great and made my last year
I'll never tell anyone about my Joshua
Tree National Park secrets. I've explored them and so should
everyone else. My favorite spot though, is what I call ‘The
I'll remember the burning sunsets and
the cold winters, probably because that's what makes the
desert so unique.
The nights are always clear enough
to see the stars. I'll miss the weather. Humidity is a real
thing in the Midwest. Yes, really. Nebraska is home. Shout
out to my 402 Marines.
In all reality, my career
wouldn't have been the same without the people I worked
with. From the top to the bottom, everyone's taught me a
thing or two.
If we're talking idols, mine is my
brother Javier Rodriguez. He's taught me so much about life
and living. This onetime he said, ‘Don't ever regret
anything because you'll never learn your limits.' Plus he
made me watch a ton of mafia movies growing up. Talk about
All through high school, I wondered what my
brother did as a grunt in Iraq during his three deployments.
When I joined, I chose this job because I wanted to be able
to tell that story for other people so they would know what
their kid was up to and have some peace-of-mind.
favorites have always been infantry stories. These guys do
so much and have such interesting things to tell. I'm
grateful to tell their story, whatever it may be.
The best interview I've had was with Col. Kennedy before he
took over at TTECG. That man knows so much about the Corps.
The scariest thing that has ever happened to me in the
Corps lasted a good 45 minutes. We were following a convoy
to a range while they were blacked out using night vision.
There we were, in a GOV, following a vehicle when it just
disappeared; not even a dust cloud was visible. After that,
I booked it to where I knew they were going. Maybe it was
the lack of sleep, I don't know.
I had a beer with
the sergeant major of the Marine Corps. That's the best
moment I've had in the Corps, hands down.
Physically, my job has taken me through a lot of great
training opportunities that Marines endure. Mentally, I've
grown as a person and as a writer. I'm right on track for
what I've wanted to learn in the past four years.
There's really no reason why I never wore a skivvie shirt.
My cammies were soft and comfortable. Plus, nobody really
says anything to a Marine with long hair and no skivvie.
I'd rather be known for being a well-rounded individual.
Maybe individualism is my biggest trait.
people exactly what I've been through; lots of hard work,
long hours and awful people. Consequently, I've also met
some of the greatest people in my life but I know I worked
too much for somebody else and now I've learned I need to
work for my own happiness.
I think I got a jump
start on experience from the Marine Corps. I can see that
most individuals my age have barely graduated, which is good
for them, but they lack experience. The Corps definitely
throws challenges at you.
Right now, my major is Mass
Communication, which is basically journalism. I like the job
and I'm going to be a junior soon. With the right schooling,
hopefully I can teach high school kids about creative
writing and journalism.
The 10-year question is a
trap. I wouldn't be happy if I knew for a fact where I'd be.
All I need right now is someone to learn a different
language with me and want to explore themselves and the
world for a bit. I like to be settled in segments of my
life, for now.
Article and photo by USMC Cpl. Lauren Kurkimilis
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