Former Marine's services invaluable in Iraq

Brian Hammond’s services were invaluable in Iraq.

As a field radio operator, he was responsible for the communications equipment that brought artillery fire and air strikes to the enemy and summoned medical helicopters for injured Marines and soldiers.

But he’s discovered there’s not much use in the civilian world for his skills.

Hammond, 26, was in Iraq in 2004 when a suicide bomber driving a water truck destroyed his forward operating base. He was badly injured in the resulting blast, which killed two other Marines. He returned home after a medical discharge with a bad back and a head full of bad memories.

A 2003 graduate of Academy of Richmond County, Hammond joined the Marines out of high school with the intent of serving his country and learning some job skills.

From his perspective, his studies into becoming a field radio operator should have been the equivalent of going to a trade school. But there’s no use in the civilian world for his skills, he said.

“If I hadn’t gone into the military I would have had my bachelor’s degree now,” he said. “It’s frustrating because I put so much work (into training).”

He’s held a few jobs. A local artifact curation project gave him a few weeks of work. He took a step toward his goal of owning a one-stop car detailing and motor repair business with a job at Pep Boys, but his physical limitations took away that job.

His back injury limits how long he can stay on his feet and how much he can lift. He’s also hunting for a job that can work around his twice-weekly counseling sessions for post traumatic stress disorder.

“It’s hard to get a job that I actually want that’s understanding of my disability as well,” said Hammond.

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