Recognitions: Combat Action Medal; Global War on Terrorism Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one star, NATO Medal ISAF Afghanistan; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon; National Defense Service Medal; Meritorious Mast; Good Conduct Medal; three expert rifle qualification badges
Duty stations: Afghanistan; Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Virginia
His story: Rob Duckworth knew he would enlist in the military after high school, but he wasn’t sure which branch until he met with a Marine Corps recruiter.
“I knew the military was something I wanted to do,” he said.
His parents wanted him to go to college instead of enlisting, but Duckworth said he wanted to serve, with no plans to reenlist. His plan was to get the training necessary for a career in law enforcement.
“I knew law enforcement was what I wanted to do,” he said.
After six months of training, he was assigned to the security reactionary force at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. He patrolled with waterfront to ensure the safety of the ballistic missile submarines in port and all the other assets on the waterfront.
“It was cool, but it was boring,” he said of the duty at Kings Bay, where he spent 2 1/2 years.
His next assignment was with an infantry unit at Camp Lejeune, where he trained for eight months before he was sent to Afghanistan as a squad leader with the First Battalion, Second Marines unit.
His unit conducted patrols and provided security for Camp Leatherneck. His unit was the last Marine Corps unit to leave Afghanistan after a nine-month tour of duty.
When he first arrived, there were restaurants, air conditioned barracks and hot showers. His unit spent the last three months in tents and eating MREs. He went as long as two weeks without a shower.
During his time there, Duckworth said he was worried every time his unit went on patrol. There were five or six times that Duckworth said he was worried he wouldn’t make it home alive and intact.
“We had people who got hurt, but we all made it home,” he said. “We were the last Marine Corps unit in Afghanistan.”
The nerve-wracking part was not knowing if the Afghanistan soldiers they served with were friend or foe.
They left the country in the hands of the Afghanistan army after a brief ceremony.
“We were greeted by the Afghanistan army and turned it over to them,” he said. “We went straight to the planes and we went home. We all came home alive.”
After he left the Marine Corps, Duckworth was hired by the St. Marys Police Department. He now works as a deputy for the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. He said the weapons and tactical training, as well as his experience in stressful combat situations made him an ideal candidate.
Joining the Corps turned out to be a great decision, he said.
“I would have done exactly what I did,” he said. “You realize how good you have it.”
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