I want to make this clear about myself. I am NOT IN NAVY SPECIAL OPERATIONS.
I am a United States Navy Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman and proud of it. I hold the NEC (Navy Enlisted Classified Code) of 8404, which is a Field Service Medical Technician. I have been blessed to be apart of Marine Reconnaissance and mentored by Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman, Special Operations Independent Duty Corpsman and Reconnaissance Marines alike. I have held the same position in Reconnaissance Platoons as SARC’s because of the lack of funding and manning capability but do not own the coveted NEC or Title. I made mistakes early in my career that I have learned from and with a little bit of luck, and a lot of hard work earned my keep in the community. I have trained with and operated with these men over the last 4 years of my life and we refer to one another as brother.
Now that we got that straight.
I was born in 1987 on George Air Force Base in Victorville, CA and then moved to Kentucky at age 3 so my parents could help take care of my ailing grandmother. I was raised in small town Kentucky until I turned 18. In high school I played football as a wide receiver and defensive back while running track in the off season. I specialized in the 400m but it probably was not my best event. As a freshman I ran a 2:03 800m and then never really concentrated on that race again.
I was in 8th Grade when 9/11 occurred and up until that point I wanted to be an Orthopedic Surgeon. From that point on I knew I wanted to serve my country but it would be over 5 years until I actually enlisted. I had several friends enlist upon their graduation and do multiple deployments to Iraq while I was still in school. I attempted to enlist in the Army at 17 but was encouraged by parents to go to college, get my education and enlist as an officer. I explored other routes the summer before my senior including Virginia Military Institute and West Point. It was during that summer that my plans got slightly changed. I attended Mike Beaty’s Model and Talent Expo in Orlando, FL thanks to Jake Lang from Wings Model Management. There I won three awards including Top Teen Male Model and met a manager from Los Angeles who convinced me to move out and try acting.
In Los Angeles I found a start relatively quick in some people’s opinions booking Disney’s Ashley Tisdale “Kiss the Girl” music video which would eventually be the root of a call sign I only recently came to embrace. Soon after the music video I guest starred on NBC’s Ghost Whisperer as “Young Jim” in the episode “Women of His Dreams”. Soon after Ghost Whisperer, I played “Gianni” on Nickelodeon Unfabulous. I brought a very cheesy Italian accent to the screen and stayed around periodically until the end of the show.
During my time in Los Angeles I struggled with not joining the military. In August 2006 a young man who I attended high school with was killed in Iraq conducting combat operations. During that time I still had friends serving in Iraq and it weighed heavy on my heart that I was not with them. I kept up with the War on Terrorism, reading up to date articles and watching YouTube videos daily. Eventually in August 2007 I finally stood behind the beliefs I so strongly voiced and enlisted in the Navy to be a Hospital Corpsman with goals of serving with the United States Marines on the battlefield.
I didn’t leave for boot camp until December 11th 2007. I graduated in February and attended Naval Hospital Corps School. There I earned Highest GPA, The Travis Youngblood award and was meritoriously promoted to E-2/ Hospitalman Apprentice. After Hospital Corps School. I attended Field Medical Service Technician School to earn my shield and become an 8404. I graduated in October 2008 earning 2nd highest GPA and Highest PFA/PFT award. In November 2008 I started Basic Reconnaissance Course but DID NOT successfully complete it. I made some mistakes early in my career and will forever regret it however it taught me valuable lessons. Being the king of second chances at life I was then sent to Okinawa, Japan and was assigned to 3d Reconnaissance Bn. I received my coveted (FMF) Fleet Marine Force warfare device on my first try within four months of joining the command. While at 3rd Reconnaissance Bn I participated in 3 work ups and deployed on the 31st MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) as apart of the ARP (Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon). Reconnaissance Marines and SARC’s (Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman) mentored me in the actual field craft of being a Reconnaissance Corpsman. As an 8404 I held the billet of an 8427/SARC in two platoons and assisted in training newly arrived Reconnaissance Marines. During the missions I participated in towards the later part of my tour at 3d Reconnaissance Bn , I held the billet of Assistant Radio Team Operator and acted as Assistant Team Leader.
I left 3rd Reconnaissance Bn in early 2011 and was blessed again to be assigned to 1st Reconnaissance Bn. My goal of attending BRC (Basic Reconnaissance Course) again and deploying in the teams was ruined when I broke my leg two days before joining the unit. I, however itching to finally deploy cut my cast off over a 2 hour period with trauma shears, set up an appointment with a new doctor and got medically cleared just a month and a half prior to leaving for the final work up. Doing this allowed me to be attached to the PSD or Jump Platoon and get my chance to deploy. During the work up I found myself mentoring junior Reconnaissance Marines and being mentored by SOIDC’s (Special Operations Independent Duty Corpsman) who continued and furthered my knowledge of combat medicine.
Late in 2011 I deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The deployment was not what I had hoped it to be. I did however have the opportunity to move from the PSD/Jump Platoon to being attached with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company and it was there that I saw very little action, but still experienced combat. I want to make it known that I am in no way a “COMBAT HARDENDED VET”. Many more Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Soldiers have done so much more than myself and it is for them that I will continue to do everything I can to support those who have served in combat.
I currently live close to Camp Pendleton, CA with my wife Jaime and we just had our first child, a little girl named Sienna Rene Smith. I do also own a dog, by marriage named Cosmo, she is a chi-wennie (yes it’s a real thing) and we argue often. I love God first and foremost, my wife, my family and my friends. My interest include CrossFit, shooting guns, charity work,participating in extreme events to include mud runs and doing anything that pretty much gets the adrenaline rushing. My goal is to open a CrossFit gym within the next year but we will see where life takes me.