Face of Defense: Marine reflects on second Afghan tour
FORWARD OPERATING BASE ZEEBRUGEE, Afghanistan, July 9, 2012 – Marine Corps Cpl. Jordi Inoke, a native of Micronesia serving as a radio operator with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6, says he’s proud to be in Afghanistan on his second deployment and supporting the International Security Assistance Force.
“I like deploying to Afghanistan,” he said. “I feel like we’re doing good work, and we are truly earning our paychecks out here.”
Inoke grew up on Pohnpei Island, a U.S. territory. “I grew up with my grandparents, and we had a big family,” he said. “When I was a kid, I did what kids do: play and go to school.”
Life on the small island was simple, Inoke said. "On the island it’s just small towns, and wherever you are going, you can walk," he explained. "If you're walking to a place, someone will probably stop by and ask you if you need a ride and take you wherever you need to go. The people there are really kind."
Marine Corps Cpl. William N. Niven, a radio technician, said he enjoys Inoke’s stories about growing up in Micronesia.
“He brings a colorful environment with his different background,” he said. “He gets to tell us about the island. I like hearing about where he’s from, because he has a unique back story. Everyone on the island knows one another, and it’s a different type of community.”
Growing up, Inoke said, he knew only about the Army, Air Force and Navy. “I didn’t know about the Marine Corps until I met my recruiter,” he added. “My brother joined the Marine Corps about six months before me. Only after I spoke to the recruiter, I understood what it was.”
Inoke’s said his brother’s enlistment inspired him to join. He originally only wanted to stay in for one enlistment, he added, but now he plans on continuing his Marine Corps career.
“My brother and I planned on joining the Marine Corps for four years then going back to school,” Inoke said. “I just put in my reenlistment package. I’m going to try for another four years.”
When he got to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in March 2009, Inoke acknowledged, he didn't fully understand what he had got himself into.
“I was excited,” he said. “I thought, ‘Man, this is going to be fun.’ I got off the plane, and I asked what’s going on to the drill instructor at the airport. Well, after that I was like, ‘What did I get myself into?’”
The adjustment to military life was tough, Inoke said, because he knew very little English when he joined.
“When I got to boot camp, my English was not too good,” he said. “While I’ve been in the fleet, it has gotten a lot better.” As he worked on his English, Inoke trained to become a radio operator.
“It’s good to work with him,” Niven said. “He does his job real well. He doesn’t speak perfect English, but he didn’t know much at all when he went to boot camp three years ago. Now you can hold a perfect conversation with him.”