AL QA’IM, Iraq --
The phrase, “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” implies the title of U. S. Marine lasts a lifetime after serving your country as one of the few and the proud.
For one Marine, the memory of his years in the service was not enough to satisfy his devotion to duty and love for the Marine Corps.
Nearing his 40th birthday, Cpl. Robert Jordan, the armory’s senior custodian for Company L of Task Force 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, craved the opportunity to once again wear the uniform of a United States Marine after leaving the Marine Corps 10 years ago.
Jordan graduated from Chester W. Nimitz high school in Irving, Texas, and shortly thereafter stepped on the infamous yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Nov. 27, 1987.
Jordan took on the now non-existent military occupational specialty of dragon gunner and received orders to Marine Corps Barracks, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After several years, Jordan was up for voluntary separation due to the downsizing of the Marine Corps.
Longing to work with Marines and weapon systems again, Jordan volunteered to help drill a reserve unit in Shreveport, La., from 1993-1995. He decided working with Marines was not as good as actually being one, so Jordan ended up signing a
three-year contract as an active-duty field wireman from 1995-1998.
Jordan, again, left the Marine Corps in 1998 to give civilian life a chance. Five years later, he realized that serving his country is his calling.
“Everyone was meant to do something: cooks, doctors, lawyers” Jordan said. “I believe God created me to be a war fighter.”
At the age of 34, Jordan entered a Marine Corps recruiting office with full intentions of re-enlisting, but the recruiter told him that it was not possible.
Heartbroken yet not defeated, the maturing veteran ran into a Coast Guard recruiter who went to his church. The Coast Guard offered Jordan a four-year contract as a gunner’s mate. Because of the increased role of the Coast Guard after 9/11 and Jordan’s past military experience, he had little trouble joining.
Ironically, the Coast Guard sent Jordan to Marine Special Operations Command at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., to help train Marines from 2003 to 2007. Working as an instructor for Marines and utilizing his knowledge of weapons, Jordan developed a passion for teaching.
“My students have told me that I have a way of breaking things down, so they can understand,” said Jordan. “If it’s a Mark-19 or smaller, I can teach you how to shoot it.”
Jordan enjoyed his time in the Coast Guard, but when presented with the option of re-enlisting and a promotion to petty officer first class, he had something else in mind.
“Some people asked if it was a mid-life crisis,” Jordan said. “It was just devotion to duty and being a Marine at heart.”
With the full support of his wife, Jordan took the opportunity to re-enlist as a corporal in the Marine Corps in 2007. He was assigned to Company L, 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines and is proudly working as senior custodian of the armory at Camp Gannon, Husaybah, Iraq.
Jordan continues to look to the future and hopes to one day become a Marine Corps recruiter to help others appreciate the Marine Corps as much as he has.