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thedrifter
11-02-08, 08:06 AM
Article published Nov 2, 2008
Re-enlisting is just an Iraqi police station away for Dover native

KARMAH, Iraq — Dover native Sgt. John Owens, a section leader with Jump Platoon, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, held an array of occupations before finding his true calling as a U. S. Marine.

So it came as no surprise that he swore his oath of re-enlistment on Sept. 22 at an Iraqi police station in the greater Karmah region of Iraq. "I did everything from cooking to truck driving (before joining the Marine Corps)," he explained. "I tried to find myself, tried to test the waters to see where I fit in. I always had an interest in the military."

A family history of military service initially sparked Owens' interest in joining the Corps, but it has been his experiences since that confirmed his decision to re-enlist. "My father and grandfather were in the Air Force," said Owens. "I needed the military in my life; I needed the challenge. I always had that drive in me and I joined. I haven't looked back since. I love it, and I knew from the moment I (left basic training) that this was it — this is my career; the job I've been looking for."

After completing infantry training at Camp Geiger, N.C., Owens reported to Company C, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, in Hawaii and soon deployed to Afghanistan.

"Preparing for Afghanistan was tough," the 29-year-old said. "When I got there, I was motivated to do my job and live up to the elite standards of the Marine Corps."

After a testing deployment in Afghanistan, Owens returned and soon found himself preparing for another deployment to Iraq in 2007. Owens said he has never second guessed himself on his choice of profession, and although his second tour in Iraq will be his last deployment with C Co., it is a transition necessary to diversify his experience in the Marine Corps.

"I didn't want to limit my opportunities," he said. "After this deployment, I'm going to recruiting school. The Marine Corps has a lot to offer and I want to take full advantage of it."

Owens said re-enlisting at an Iraqi police station is one of the most memorable experiences he has had in his relatively short, but motivating career.

"Re-enlisting out in town among the Iraqi people was unbelievable," he said. "That would never have been possible the last time I was here."

Owens is what Marines talk about when they say "backbone of the Marine Corps," said 27-year-old Staff Sgt. James Cabarrus, Jump Platoon commander, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines.

"Anybody can be a sergeant once they pick it up, but not everybody can be a sergeant of Marines," he said. "The difference is how much they care, and how much they're willing to put out. He makes sure Marines are always doing the right thing. I feel good knowing that when I'm a sergeant major one day, he'll be a first sergeant and he'll make sure Marines are still being Marines — there will be someone to take my place and continue passing those values."

Ellie