Enlistment and Basic Training

Interviewee: Joseph Earl Simmons

b. 1982


Joseph joined the Marine Corps after graduating from high school. He describes basic training and the initial shock of it. Joseph was in basic training on 9/11 and talks about the atmosphere after the attacks. After finishing School of Infantry Joseph’s unit was deployed on a Homeland Security mission in Southern California. Joseph describes his deployment at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.


At the end of his deployment he found out they were being sent to Iraq in place of an active duty battalion. They were flown into Kuwait to prepare for the invasion of Iraq and he was chosen as a designated marksman. Joseph describes the initial push into Iraq. He did not see fighting until they reached An Nasiriyah. After An Nasiriyah he was part of a rescue effort to save a Marine artillery unit being held down by fire. He describes reaching Baghdad and patrolling the streets. At one point during their first day of patrolling the city they started taking fire. The fighting continued throughout the day. On the next day they took over a military complex. Joseph does not remember firing his rifle for the rest of the war.


A few weeks after reaching Baghdad Joseph’s unit was sent to a camp somewhere between Iraq and Kuwait. He describes the conditions there and what he did while waiting to return home. Then he talks about getting home and reuniting with his family. Shortly after returning he went on a mission to Anaheim, California and then South Africa for the Mormon church. Joseph left his mission early because he was experiencing stress and mild PTSD. He then became an admin clerk in the 19th Special Forces while he went to school. After he finished ROTC he joined the Guard with his brother and he has been the company commander of Echo Company, 211th ever since.