Chapter 1: The Beginning
August 11th 2019
He was already feeling mentally and physically drained. Preparing for this upcoming challenge has been difficult, but Gunnery Sergeant Jared Tremble knew exactly what needed to be done. It was decided a long time ago that enough was enough. He knew it was time he took matters into his own hands.
It wasn’t a hard decision, at least when focusing on himself as an individual. When he starts to think about his family, it will never get easier. The possibility of leaving his children forever often makes him question the choice he has ultimately made.
The decision is final and there is no turning back. He had already taken the necessary steps to achieve his ultimate goal. There was no stopping the impact of those measures he had already taken. Jared, who is a 15 year seasoned Marine Corps Infantryman, was attached to the Task Force 151. The 14,000 Marines he had deployed with over the years never would have foreseen their beloved leader they once knew, side with the most ruthless and barbaric terrorist organization, The Army of Islam.
Growing up in a small town in upstate New York, Jared was always the quiet individual who mostly kept to himself. He didn’t enjoy going out to parties with friends or hanging out after school. There were more important things to take care of. He needed to be cutting wood for the stove during the winter, hunting to stock the freezer, and protecting his younger brother who often got bullied.
Their parents have been divorced for quite some time, it had always been them against the world. They did everything together and often made plans about what adventures they would get into when they grew older. The two brothers spent many of their days side by side.
With one red light in the entire town, not a single fast food restaurant or shopping mall, there wasn’t much to do but work and play sports. Without many friends, Jared stuck to high school wrestling and doing work around the house for his father. It made the time go by and kept Jared in great shape. There was no interest in anything else, nothing that called out Jared’s name. At one point in his life he dreamed of pursuing the sport in college, but that was a young boys dream.
The small family modular home appeared to be dropped in the middle of the town cemetery. Coming from the main road in town, someone visiting the family would never expect such a small house to be down the long driveway. There was no epic mountain view, or waterfront access. There were headstones of loved ones gone, but never forgotten. Hundreds of them, as far as the eyes could see through the sloping hills.
This likely had something to do with the small amount of friends Jared had. When looking outside the box and looking at the big picture of Jared’s life, spending all that time alone or with his brother likely helped Jared in his career as an infantryman. Knowing how to survive and getting by on his own was a great factor in getting through Marine Corps boot camp and the multiple combat tours throughout his career.
Jared had never dreamed of being a Marine, not like the typical stories you hear. He was 5’11” and almost 130 pounds. Jared enjoyed wrestling throughout high school, so he was used to shedding weight instead of putting it on. He was skinny, with red hair and blue eyes. Jared didn’t look like a typical Marine.
He often had thoughts on going to college and being a conservation officer, but only because he enjoyed being outside as often as possible. Those thoughts were short lived, but was it external forces or just pure impulse that lead Jared to his future. On February 12th 2004, he was having another normal day. Getting to his lunch period, he saw a Marine Corps Recruiter set up on a small stage in the corner of the cafeteria. Jared had walked over to speak with him out of pure curiosity, but within just five minutes he had started the application process. There was nothing unique or extremely motivating that caught his attention, it was just something to do.
Many members of the family have an idea that Jared just wanted to get out of the small town life and become a new person. To create a new image for himself, but Jared would never confirm nor deny that narrative. Within just a few days, his parents signed the papers to allow him to join the Marine Corps at 17 years old. One week later he had a date to ship off to Marine boot camp. Three months after that, Jared walked across his high school stage to receive his diploma. Within an hour of graduating, he was walking out of the school and into the recruiters car, which took him straight to the airport for boot camp.
While at boot camp in South Carolina, Jared often kept to himself. He was fine when it came to the physical training aspect, had more difficulty with drill and following directions. Twice, Jared was “physically corrected” during his time attending boot camp. The first time was when they transitioned from shoes to boots and Jared went ahead and bloused his trousers straight into his boots. The second was when Jared leaned over to get closer to his short Senior Drill Instructor because he couldn’t hear him.
After boot camp, Jared traveled to North Carolina to the School of Infantry to pick a skill, or Military Occupational Specialty. He didn’t have a high enough GT score for some of the occupations, so he ended up choosing machine guns since he was decent at hiking and carrying weight. It took some time, but Jared eventually became adapted to machine gunnery and had some of the fastest times during drills. He was hooked.
Jared was a machine gunner in Fallujah and Ramadi Iraq from 2004 and 2006. After a quick six months on ship, Jared eventually went to Marjah, Afghanistan and then to the Horn of Africa for a few more years of fighting. Jared was definitely battle tested, he had proven himself to be a ferocious fighter and keen survivor. Jared had put on 60 pounds of muscle and a never dulling savage look in his eyes.
He walked with a sense of earned confidence from years of fighting. In his fifteen years as an infantry Marine, he had been shot three times, hit by over nineteen IED’s while traveling in armored vehicles, and had been through more firefights than family cookouts.
Jared had never expected it, but he was a great Marine, good at fighting and pushing others to fight harder. He enjoyed deploying and wanted to fight as often as possible. Highly decorated and a passion for leading Marines in combat, Jared was born for this.
Nonetheless, these instincts would be tested even further once this next step was taken. Nothing could prepare him for what was about to happen, but it needed to occur. Countless hours have been used to prepare and plan out his future attempt to join The Army of Islam.
He had fought against them for countless years and knew everything about them. He had spent the last year extensively learning their language fluently. He studied their religion, tactics, and their way of life. How they eat, sleep, and how they evolved culturally. He was prepared, or at least that’s what he continued to tell himself.
His bags were packed, his route was planned, and he was in a position to make this happen. He helped develop and build the last three patrol bases in Ramadi and knew everything about each one. This would be his ticket in and how he would prove his loyalty.
Each small camp had a specific military operation plan and Jared had copies of all three in his bag. Presenting these to the leader of The Army of Islam would be his ticket in. None of the Marines in the Task Force knew of his plan. In order to make a scene for a distraction, he had just gotten into a large confrontational argument with the company First Sergeant on the other side of the camp. That of course, would stir up some whispering throughout the base. With the Marines telling others that they saw the Gunny arguing with the First Sergeant on the South side of camp, this would be a great alibi.
No one would expect him to be on the North side of the base, near post four. They had just finished building the structure earlier and it had not yet been implemented in the security plan. Jared would be able to quietly slip through the unsecured post and make his way to his planned objective. The more silent and unnoticed he could be when leaving, the better chance he had of reaching his goal.
All he had to do was take the first step in the blacked-out darkness. He would follow his illuminated compass to the building he had picked out months ago and wait. One step would change his life. One step to take matters in his own hands and join a different cause, to make a change.
He was tired of how things were going and frustrated by all the fighting that led nowhere. His anxiety was rising again and he could feel the anger swell back up inside of him. It was time, there was no reason to wait any longer. No one could see him, no one knew his location, and no one to hold him back. It was his one chance to end it all.
Jared looked around one last time and took the first step to a new life, as an American Terrorist.