Jed Rubin joined the Marines in 2008 at age 19.
“I’ve always wanted to join since I was a kid,” he said, though his parents had other plans. “My mom said I should try going to college first before I joined, so I went for a year.”
Rubin, of Bayside, served four years of active duty in the Marines from 2008 until 2012. He went on two deployments, including a combat mission in Afghanistan.
Rubin went to boot camp at Parris Island in South Carolina. After that, he continued his training with the 1st Battalion 9th Marines, nicknamed “The Walking Dead” for the unit’s high casualty rate in the Vietnam War.
In 2010, Rubin was deployed with the 24th Expeditionary Unit.
“I was on a ship,” he said. “We were a quick reaction force sent around the world to be on call in case of crisis.”
Then the earthquake struck in Haiti.
“They sent us over there to aid, and after that I went to 15 other countries,” said Rubin.
During his first deployment, Rubin spent time in Greece, Croatia, Spain, Bahrain, Djibouti, and the United Arab Emirates, among other countries.
After seven months with the 24th Expeditionary Unit, Rubin returned to the U.S. He was ready for his second deployment, to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.
“Our main mission was to push the Taliban forces from the area, and in the beginning we were getting into a lot of firefights,” he recalled. “They sent my platoon — we were dropped off by helicopter — to go in and find a compound and fortify it.”
Rubin called the compound a “mudhole.” He and his fellow Marines spent five months of their tour there.
We “fortified it and spent the first three weeks sleeping on the ground,” Rubin said. “It was tough.”
Once his term was complete, Rubin returned to his family and old life in Bayside. The transition back to civilian life was a complicated process.
“I was doing it for four years, so of course I was a little nervous,” he said. “It took some time adjusting.”
Rubin is now pursuing a degree in homeland and corporate security at St. John’s University.
He said he is proud of his service.
“This country took my parents in as immigrants,” Rubin explained, “so I felt like it was my duty to protect the country that cared for my family.”
BY LUKE TABET
EDITOR’S NOTE: This Memorial Day, as we pay tribute to all who have laid down their lives in service, The Courier would also like to thank all those active and retired service members.