Back in Alaska, Evans continued training with his unit. When he was halfway done with his initial contract, his unit was slated for another deployment to Afghanistan, but going back would require Evans to extend his contract with the Army for another year.
“I wanted to go again,” he said. “I loved my time on my first deployment and wanted to stay with my unit and go back for more.”
Evans explained that many members of his unit had been together since basic training, so they all shared a strong bond. Before he left the Army, he wanted to share one more deployment with his brothers.
By January 2009, Evans was back on the ground in the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and explained this deployment was different than the first. “We weren’t the primary force in Afghanistan,” said Evans. “We didn’t conduct nearly as many operations as we did when we were in Iraq but still engaged in combat a few times.”
While in Afghanistan, Evans worked with and supported Afghan forces, which included providing support at police stations and stabilizing the Afghan military forces. Evans spent a year overseas and in February of 2010, made the trip back home to Alaska. Less than two months later, he ended his service in the Army and travelled back to his hometown of Palm Springs, Florida.
After his separation from the Army, Evans felt like something was missing from his life. He soon moved to Arizona to attend the Universal Technical Institute, where, after two years, he received his associate’s degree. He worked for four years as a detention officer for the Maricopa Sheriff’s Department in Arizona.
“Throughout my time working at the detention center, I felt like something was missing,” Evans said. “I knew I missed the Army, but I kept reminding myself why I left.” He explained his bond with the members of his unit was something that nothing compared to in a lot of ways; he longed for it, but was not interested in going back to the Army’s ranks.
“I always wanted to be a Marine,” Evans said. “I just liked the opportunities that the Army had at the time I was enlisting.” In 2015, Evans married his girlfriend, Jovana, who supported his decision to return to military service.
Filling the Hole
They lived a block away from a Marine Corps recruiting station, and after explaining his situation to the recruiters, he said they began the paperwork without hesitation.In February of 2016, Evans found himself again at recruit training, only this time standing tall on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego as a Marine Corps recruit.
He remembered his experiences in Basic Combat Training with the Army and said that it was hard to compare. “There’s so much of a difference between the Army and Marine Corps basic training,” Evans said. “There’s a lot more aggression and responsibility than there is in the Army.”
He described recruit training as a humbling experience for a combat veteran.
“I have seen a lot of what we learn firsthand,” Evans said. “I wanted to let the young recruits take the responsibilities and leadership roles so that they don’t miss out on the valuable things they can learn from this training.”
Following graduation from recruit training, Evans will report to the School of Infantry at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, to train as a Marine Corps infantryman. He said he plans on trying out to be a reconnaissance Marine or a Marine Raider and making a career out of the Corps.
Written June 09, 2016 By Marine Corps Sgt. Tyler Viglione Marine Corps Recruit Depot San DiegoRepublished and redistributed by permission of DoD.