Private First Class Sean F. Evans, Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, experienced that emptiness and believed the Marine Corps was the best way to fill a void he had in his life since leaving the Army almost six years ago.
Evans was always interested in the infantry lifestyle. At 18 years old, he enlisted in the Army to become an infantryman and soon after became a part of the Army’s airborne infantry program.
In September 2004, Evans arrived at Basic Combat Training. Following his graduation, he moved on to Infantry School and then Airborne School before arriving at 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, located in Fort Richardson, Alaska.
Less than two years later, Evans was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he spent a year conducting patrols, executing missions involving high-value targets and cross training with Iraqi Forces. During his tour, he was awarded several individual awards, including the Combat Action Badge. Additionally, his unit received three Valorous Unit Awards, which is the second highest unit award and is considered the unit equivalent of the Silver Star. It is awarded to units that show extraordinary heroism against armed enemies.
Evans completed his deployment and traveled back to Alaska where he continued training with his unit. Halfway done with his contract, he was slated for another deployment to Afghanistan, but going back required him to extend his contract with the Army for another year.
“I wanted to go again,” said Evans. “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.
In January 2009, Evans was back on the ground in the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and explained this deployment was a little more drawn out 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 the local nationals, 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 traveled back to his hometown of Palm Springs, Fla.
Evans soon moved to Arizona to go to school at the Universal Technical Institute where after two years, received his associate degree.
After his separation with the Army, Evans felt like something was missing from his life, a void he could not fill.
He was hired by the Maricopa Sheriff’s Department as a detention officer where he worked for four years.
“Throughout my time working at the detention center, I felt like something was missing,” said the Marine. “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,” said Evans. “I just liked the opportunities that the Army had at the time I was enlisting.”
In 2015, Evans got married to his girlfriend, Jovana, and he explained that she agreed with him and supported his decision to put a uniform back on.
They lived a block away from a Marine Corps recruiting station, and after explaining his situation to the recruiters, without hesitation, they began the paperwork.
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,” said Evans. “There’s a lot more aggression and responsibilities than there is in the Army.”
Evans described recruit training as a humbling experience for him because he had already been through most of what recruit training prepares future Marines for in the combat aspect.
“I have seen a lot of what we learn firsthand,” said Evans. “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 in Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to learn his military occupational specialty as an infantryman. He plans on trying out to be a reconnaissance Marine or a Marine Raider and making a career out of the Corps.
By Sgt. Tyler Viglione