A Marine Corp Article From Last Year About One Of My Drill Instructors From Boot Camp, Sergeant Dorsey. A Real Man.
3025 Lima Co… RIP Captain Klokow.
Marine Keeps Others Off Wayward Path
April 27, 2009
Marine Corps News
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — For his Marines, the flashes of the drill instructor are still there—the deep, froggy voice, the piercing eyes and their intimidating swagger.
In between those brief flashes, you’ll find a Marine the polar opposite of his outwardly intimidating appearance.
The man you’ll find is Staff Sgt. Jesse James Dorsey, a 31-year-old warehouse chief with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, a former Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego drill instructor.
While at work, Dorsey is a motivated leader for his Marines.
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“I’ve known Staff Sgt. Dorsey for about two years,” said Cpl. Justin Ahrens, a 21-year-old from Northlake, Ill., and a warehouse clerk with the battalion. “When I first got here I knew my job, but Staff Sgt. Dorsey taught me how to be a Marine while doing my job.”
While outside of work, Dorsey is a full-time preacher and dedicated to giving back to his community.
“He’s very religious and a great leader that cares for his Marines and people in general,” said Cpl. Mitchell Burnett, a 20-year-old from Tampa Bay, Fla., and the assistant warehouse chief.
Dorsey came from humble beginnings in several suburbs of Los Angeles, where gang-violence tore apart neighborhoods and took the lives of hundreds of young men.
“I even had one cousin who was shot in the back of the head. I lost many cousins and friends to street violence,” Dorsey said, “The percentage of men going to jail was very high. My brother went to jail at age 14 and is still in the penitentiary. All of my cousins were either in jail or were going to jail soon.”
He was forced to move several times as an adolescent because his mother was determined not to let the negative influences of those crimson violent neighborhoods take hold of her son.
“My mother wanted to move out of the bad areas to have a better life for me,” Dorsey said. “She always told me, ‘I lost one son to society and I don’t want to lose another.’”
Despite his mother’s wishes, for a period of time, Dorsey did get wrapped up in that lifestyle.
“I tried to get involved with the gang violence and hung around with those guys,” Dorsey said. “But, I didn’t get in deep enough to where it overtook me.”
Dorsey’s mother took tough measures to ensure her second son would be successful in life. In return, Dorsey took serious steps to make certain his mother’s efforts were not in vain.
“I was placed in a half-way house,” Dorsey said. “There was a social worker, who was a Los Angeles Country sheriff and a former Marine that took me in and cared for me in the house. I had restrictions, guidelines and curfews to make sure I wasn’t getting wrapped up in the violence surrounding me. They began to start grooming me and showing me the responsibilities of life.”
The actions of Dorsey and his mother paid off. He graduated high school and later made a decision that would change his life forever.
“I was the first man in my family to ever graduate high school,” he said. “The rest of the men were either in jail or dropped out. My uncle told me, ‘You need to do something with your life, because these streets aren’t good for you.’”
Shortly after graduating, Dorsey met a local Marine Corps recruiter and within days he was undergoing recruit training, or boot camp.
“Fifteen days later I was on the yellow footprints with Platoon 2051, 2nd Battalion, Company H—I’ll never forget it,” Dorsey said with a smile. “I wanted to be something better than what I was; than what my family was. I didn’t always want to be a Marine; my goal was just to graduate high school.”
Dorsey said recruit training altered the way he viewed the world from top to bottom.
“The Corps humbled me because I thought I was a bad dude,” Dorsey said. “I was a tough guy, so it wasn’t an easy task to break me down but the Marine Corps did. They broke me down their way, and built me back up their way. It’s been the best thing to ever happen to me.”
In his 11-year career, Dorsey’s been meritoriously promoted three times, awarded honor graduate more than three times, deployed more than eight times, and had a successful tour as a drill instructor at MCRD, San Diego.
“I prayed to be a successful drill instructor,” he said. “People told me I was the meanest drill instructor they’ve ever met in their life. But they never heard a cuss or a put-down word come out of my mouth. I refused to compromise to what the world wants us to be. I didn’t have to use violent words to train a Marine, no one needs to.”
Dorsey said he believes his life has changed so much because of his faith in a higher power. He found faith after meeting a religious mentor as a young Marine.
“I realized that I needed an inner change and one Sunday I decided to go to church,” he said. “Somebody took their time to take under their guidance a young Marine, who didn’t know his left from his right in the world.”
Dorsey is currently working on his seminary degree and this summer will apply to get his elder’s license, which is required to become a professional clergy member. He is also serving as the president of the building foundation for a new church in the local area.
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