Enlistment and Basic Training

Interviewee: Dustin Sexton

Born: 1974?

Dustin Sexton was born in Orlando, Florida. His father was a priest and because of his work the family moved around throughout his childhood. They ended up in Olympus Cove, Utah during his senior year of high school. As a child he had always thought about joining the Marines. In fact he attempted to enlist when he was sixteen but failed. Though he had to wait it out he ended up in boot camp in 1991 and found it to be very easy. When he finished, he decided to join the Reserves as a part of Fox Company so that he could attend and pay for college. His first deployment was to Southern California where the unit worked with the US Forest Service on drug patrols. His team received a Presidential citation for this service and got to meet George H. W. Bush.  Before 9/11 he spent most of his time going to school at the University of Utah and training in Southern California.

Dustin knew his team would be deployed after 9/11 and sure enough they were activated in January 2002. This was an especially difficult deployment for him because he had to close a business that he had recently opened. His unit went to Camp Pendleton for operation Noble Eagle as a Quick Reaction Force. During this time he felt that his unit grew closer in spite of the repetitive drills and wasting of time. Soon after his unit had finished in California they were deployed again, this time to Iraq with the 1st Marine Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon arriving in Kuwait he felt as though he had landed on an alien planet. Dustin discusses the challenges he faced in order to help his unit prepare for entering Iraq. He recalls the continuing culture shock during their journey into Baghdad. Overall he thinks the military doesn’t understand Iraqi culture as well as it should. He describes the frequent sneak attacks and the challenges in securing towns. His unit suffered several casualties during combat in Baghdad. A majority of the Iraqis he saw seemed very happy to have an American military presence.

After Dustin’s combat tour in Iraq he decided to transfer from Fox Company to Charlie Company and in May of 2005 was deployed to Tibilisi where he trained Georgian commandos. He thought it was cool to see the Georgians actually using the US aid that he felt other countries didn’t appreciate as much. He also describes several of the logistical problems he had with the US military. After the mission in Georgia his unit was activated again in January of 2006 and sent to Iraq.  He led a specialized unit which trained and advised Iraqi police in and around Al-Qa’im. He explains the continuing cultural and political problems his unit faced while operating in Iraq. Upon returning home in 2008 he was promoted to First Sergeant. He is now part of the Individual Ready Reserve. Looking back on his seventeen years of service Dustin is very proud that he accomplished everything he wanted to do in the Marines.