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National Veterans and Military Families Month Feature

In recognition of National Veterans and Military Families Month, we sat down with WPCU Financial Coach and Marine Corporal Ryan J. Rodgers. He shared the story of his service with us. Thank you, Ryan, for your service and sacrifice. Thank you to all our veterans, reserve and active-duty military members, and their families.

Here is Ryan's story, in his own words:

I was in the Marine Corps for 8 years. I began my active-duty service stationed in London, England. I was there 1 ½ years doing security for a Naval Headquarters building, as well as personal security for VIPs when they were in the area.  

From Weapons I​nstructor to War in Iraq

After my time in London, I was sent to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island in South Carolina for three years. I instructed new recruits in weapons training, as well as hand-to-hand combat.

While at Parris Island, 9-11 happened. I was immediately sent to an infantry unit. We were one of the first combat elements to cross into Iraq in March of 2003. 

After my tour, I was sent back home, though that was short-lived. Once we were back in the states, I was transferred to another unit that was getting ready to go to Afghanistan. I had three months stateside then was right back over there again. 

Thanksgiving in Turkey

On the way over to Afghanistan, we flew into Turkey to change to smaller planes. It happened to also be Thanksgiving. So, we were given turkey TV dinners. We all thought it was cool that we were having Turkey day in Turkey. That isn't something that many Americans get to say. After 6 ½ months, we came home.

There and Back Again--and Again

When I got back to the states, I was transferred back to my previous unit. We went back to Iraq a few months later.

Six months in the books again, and back to the states I went.

Low and behold! Once I was back home, guess what? You guessed it. Back to Afghanistan.

​No “Third Time's a Charm"

Now, after that last Afghanistan deployment, my enlistment was up. The Marine Corps asked if I wanted to re-enlist.

I decided against it.

My way of thinking was that I had done two combat tours in both countries—Iraq and Afghanistan. I had put close to 40 of my fellow Marines in the ground.  If I would have stayed in, I surely would have been sent back over, and as they say, third time's a charm.​

I didn't want to take that chance.