MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
It takes a lot to keep a good Marine down. Injuries do not necessarily have to end service to one’s country. Many Marines are able to continue their careers because of Marine Corps Administrative Message 228-06.
The Maradmin allows injured Marines to re-enlist on a permanent light duty status.
The Maradmin allowed Staff Sgt. Chadd Jackson, a career retention specialist with Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, Wounded Warrior Regiment, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, to stay in the Marine Corps.
Jackson was returning to Camp Fallujah, Iraq, with six other Marines from 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, when an improvised explosive device exploded next to his vehicle.
“The explosion sent shrapnel into my right arm, severing my median and radial nerves,” Jackson said. “It caused a loss of motor skills in my right arm, which I will never recover from fully. I’ll have chronic pain for the rest of my life, and I have just come to deal with that.”
Jackson has not let the pain stop him or even slow him down, for that matter. He knew he wanted to stay in the Marine Corps, but did not know how he would be able to. He was no longer able to be a light armored vehicle commander and was unsure if he could even stay in the Marine Corps. Then he found out about the PLD Maradmin.
“When I first got injured, I didn’t think I was going to re-enlist,” Jackson said. “My First Sergeant at LAR handed me the Maradmin. Then, I knew I wanted to re-enlist.”
It was a long process for Jackson to receive PLD status, and time was not on his side.
“I went through a two-step process after my (physical evaluation board),” he said. “The first PLD gives you time to file for the extended PLD. For me it was difficult, because my (end of active service date) was over a year ago. I had to be medically reviewed and even write a letter to the commandant stating why I wanted to stay in.”
Jackson added only 17 Marines have submitted packages since the Maradmin came out in 2006. Out of the 17, 11 were approved, one disapproved, five are on the board that just met April 28 and two left the program due to medical conditions.
One of Jackson’s stops on the PLD path was the career retention specialist.
“He had originally come over here because he was applying for the PLD program,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. James Miller, the CRS for II MEF. “He was looking for what he’d be able to perform in and make a career.”
It was there Jackson realized what he wanted to do.
“I had other choices like intelligence, combat engineers and Marine Corps Exchange, but CRS was the first one that really hit me,” Jackson said. “I knew it was destiny. That one didn’t take a lot of talking into, and it’s critical right now with the expansion of the Marine Corps. I just think it’s going to be very rewarding for me.”
Miller said he believes the job of the internal recruiter is very important to the Marine Corps, and Jackson is a perfect fit for the position.
“We are always looking for good Marines to be CRSs, and the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East would be an excellent fit,” Miller said. “He liked the idea, talked to his wife, came back and said it’s something he would like to make as a career. I think he is going to do an excellent job over there.”
Jackson has already begun to practice his CRS skills before attending the formal training.
“For now, I am doing some on-the-job-training,” he said. “Before I even re-enlisted, I started working a couple of cases. Five or six Marines in the battalion are considering PLD. I am hoping to be able to take care of the needs of the Marines in the battalion.”
Jackson is the first Marine in the battalion to re-enlist in the PLD program and is excited to help other CRSs understand how the PLD program works.
“I am going to a CRS conference,” he said. “There, I will give a point paper and presentation about the expanded PLD to other CRSs about improving things for wounded guys. They know exactly what to do with a fully capable Marine, but are unsure what to do with wounded guys.”