From Magalia to the Marines

Darrin Richardson

PHOTO courtesy of darrin richardson

It’s been six years since Sgt. Darrin Richardson left his home in Magalia and entrusted his life in the U.S. Marine Corps, a branch of the military that requires its soldiers to be brave, committed and sharp. During his tenure, Richardson has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, but it was his time spent in the Republic of Georgia from September 2010 to March 2011 that earned him a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, an award given to soldiers who set themselves apart due to an act of heroism, an outstanding achievement or meritorious service. The 25-year-old Home Tech Charter School graduate was recently presented with the award in front of his fellow Marines on the East Coast, where he is stationed.

Why did you receive this award?

I received it due to my outstanding support in advising and training [the Republic of Georgia’s] logistics officers how to conduct a logistic movement and maintain good support throughout their battalion. By outstanding performance, I mean being constantly on top of things.

What was your greatest challenge while deployed?

Working with a foreign country is a little bit different, and it’s something I’ve never been involved with before. It was very challenging and a new experience, that’s for sure. But with this unit, it’s been the longest mission to date for training a Georgian battalion to serve in Afghanistan. The majority of them don’t speak English, so you have to use interpreters and learn how they speak.

What was your greatest success?

The experience was one of the greatest things—being able to go and train another country’s battalion to support us in what we do. The training of the Georgians is representative of a multinational effort in the current operating environment in Afghanistan.

Why did you join the Marines?

At first, I didn’t think that was something I wanted to do straight out of high school. I started college [at Butte College] and then I thought, ya know, this isn’t something I want to do right now, so I walked down to the recruiting station and the first door was the Marine Corps. I signed up and I’ve been loving it ever since. The best part is the places I’ve been and the Marines that I’ve worked with. I wouldn’t change it for anything else. As of right now, I’m probably going to do a full 20 years.

How has your experience changed you?

It taught me to be a better person overall, how to look at things and how to appreciate life, and basically your country. Most of all, I’m just very proud to be a Marine.