View Full Version : Marine tackles another challenge

01-03-06, 02:23 PM
Marine tackles another challenge
Published Tuesday, January 3, 2006 11:48:16 AM Central Time
Globe Associate Editor

ESCANABA -- The U.S. Marine Corps prides itself on surmounting obstacles, and that's one reason why Wakefield native Sgt. James Bolen became a recruiter.

"Our job as recruiters is a challenge to all of us," said Bolen. "That's one of the reasons why I took the recruiting assignment. I'm not the best at public speaking, at getting up in front of people.

"I wanted to face my challenges, and overcome my fears of getting up in front of people and talking."

Bolen is a decorated veteran of the war in Iraq, and he shared his experiences with fellow Marines at a Marine Corps League event in Delta County.

"I actually gave a speech before about 55 former Marines for the Gladstone Detachment," said Bolen. "I gave a speech on my time served in Iraq. It went really well, and was a great honor."

Bolen received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal from the Department of the Navy on June 13.

It was presented for heroic achievement on Bolen's part while he was serving as machine gun squad leader, 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II from Nov. 10-28, 2004.

The citation reads: "Corporal Bolen was responsible for using his machine gun to isolate the western side of the mayor's complex in Fallujah (Iraq). With friendly locations in the area, he continually engaged snipers with precise machine gun fire.

"On numerous occasions, under intense fire, he coordinated MK-19 fire onto sniper positions by marking targets with his machine gun, ultimately neutralizing the enemy. On Nov. 11, while heavily engaged by the enemy, Cpl. Bolen moved his machine guns from one position to another with total disregard for his life to ensure the platoon could keep moving.

"Cpl. Bolen's initiative, perseverance, and total dedication to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."

The 22-year-old son of Richard and Colleen Bolen, Wakefield, graduated from Wakefield High School in 2001 and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He took part in Infantry schooling in San Diego, Calif., as well as in North Carolina.

The sergeant completed two tours of duty in Iraq. He was involved in the initial invasion in 2003, helping to secure an airfield for the 101st Airborne in Northern Iraq. His first tour ended after two months. He returned to Iraq in June 2004 and returned home in February.

His recruiting territory includes Gogebic, Iron, Delta, Dickinson and Menominee counties in Upper Michigan, and a portion of northern Wisconsin.

"It's been easy for me in the U.P., because there are a lot of young people in the U.P. who want to do their part and serve their country, versus recruiting in a city or with people born in a different area," he said.

"A lot of the recruits inquire about my experiences. They want to see pictures," said Bolen. "I feel that we're doing an outstanding job over there. It's going to be a long process, and I think President Bush said it. I've seen it, helping out people to get their water, even handing out Beanie Babies to little kids.

"We're out there trying to get the job done and help these people. There are real good things happening."

Bolen attended recruiter school in San Diego, graduating on June 16. He officially began work at the Marine Corps Recruiting Station is located in the Delta Plaza Mall Aug. 1.

Bolen said he has tried to establish a higher profile for the Marine Corps through his recruiting efforts, speaking to groups where he can and using the media to get his message out.

"Our job is to maintain the strength of the Marine Corps. We haven't missed a mission, and our numbers are up. Everybody asks about a quota, and how things are doing. They're doing good," he said.

"If it wasn't for those who are serving in all the branches of the military, we wouldn't have a choice to serve. We would have to have a draft," he said. "The military is tough duty, but it's what makes this country great."

Bolen may be reached at his office in Escanaba, (906) 786-6184.


01-03-06, 07:29 PM
Well done SGT.