Jeffrey Brandon Owens, now 30 years of age, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2003 at the age of 19. He was honorably discharged in 2007.
During his service as a Marine, Owens was with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He was originally stationed at Kaneohe Bay Marine Base in Hawaii where he completed boot camp and was deployed to Japan.
“My first six months in the Marine Corps was a deployment overseas to Japan and Thailand where I completed Cobra-Gold training exercises at a jungle warfare training center,” said Owens. “When I came back to Kaneohe Bay in 2004 I was then deployed to Iraq.”
While completing an eight-month tour in Iraq, Owens fought in the battle of Fallujah, a fierce guerrilla operation where the U.S. military attempted to capture the city.
“I was injured in Oct. 2004 taking shrapnel from a 120 mm mortar, where I received a Purple Heart at the age of 21. I was wounded while being in the midst of combat,” said Owens.
His mission while in Iraq was convoy security Owens said.
“We cleared houses from side to side, but we also did a lot of convoy security,” said Owens. “I was injured when we were pulling into our fort operating base and it got mortared and small arms fire. One of the mortars hit where my Humvee was and it blew me and four other Marines up. I took shrapnel in the bottom of my left leg, down into my foot. They ended up taking little over 60 percent of the muscle out of my leg. I had numerous, numerous surgeries — nine or 10 plus plastic surgery. I had nerve damage, so it was a process to get to where I am now. I’m better.”
Losing 49 men in his battalion while he was in Iraq, Owens said,” those men who died they didn’t get the admiration they deserved for what they did. There are soldiers giving their lives every day. Those 49 lives are the reason the flag can fly in America free. I did receive a Purple Heart, but I think I’m a small part of a big machine. These men who have given their lives every single day are the ones who are giving us the opportunity to do more with ours.”
Receiving several medals during his tenure with the Marine Corps, Owens said, “Serving my country in the Marine Corps was the best thing I ever did in my life.”
“The only reason I got out of the Marine Corps is because I got hurt,” said Owens. “If I hadn’t gotten hurt I would still have been there this day. The Marine Corps has been the foundation that has built my life today. The reason I am a police officer today is because of the Marine Corps. I eat, sleep and breathe the U.S. Marines. I love everything about it.”
After leaving the Marines, Owens worked as a deputy jailer at the Harlan County Detention Center, and in 2009 he was hired as a police officer for the Harlan City Police Department where he now holds the position of corporal.
Owens and his wife, April, reside at Coldiron. They have one son, Brody, who is 4.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, firstname.lastname@example.org