MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines go through stressful situations and face hardships on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s the loss of a brother in arms, other times it’s a personal hardship or a painful circumstance that can alter a Marine’s career in an instant.
For Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Wesley of Liberty, Ky. that day came for him when he sustained an injury while deployed fighting in the Global War on Terrorism.
Wesley was a rifleman with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in July. While part of a reaction force his team responded to rocket-propelled grenade fire.
The team took off after the enemy and was overtaken in a firefight. Wesley jumped a wall for cover and tore his knee.
“I have surgery this month (November) followed by six months of rehab,” Wesley said. “After that I have another surgery, followed by six more months of rehab. I’ve got a long road ahead of me.”
The injury occurred while the 20-year-old was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Wesley will have six months left in the Marine Corps when he rehabilitates. He plans to make use of his time as he recovers.
“During this time I will be taking college classes,” Wesley said.
When his enlistment ends Wesley won’t return for another tour of duty, but he still wants to stay close to the Marine Corps.
“I have two options in mind for now,” Wesley explained. “I would like to work for the government. I would also like to be a game warden on base. I always liked hunting and fishing so that would be a dream job.”
Wesley’s injury forced him to leave friends behind in Iraq, but still can positively reflect his time in the Corps.
“It’s sad to hear about my friends getting hurt and knowing I’m powerless to do anything about it,” Wesley admitted. “After all that has happened, I’m still glad I joined the Corps and did what I could.”