Veteran Spotlight: Curtis Coleman

Veteran Spotlight: Curtis Coleman

Curtis Coleman grew up differently than most of his peers with little money and being homeless. His brother mentioned the Marines and that he could work with helicopters, and Coleman’s life changed for the better. 

“My older brother was a Marine. He saw combat while he was a combat engineer. He wanted me to try out the Marines on the air wing side of it. If it were not for him getting me into the Marines, I would most likely be in a worse situation,” Coleman said.

Coleman was enlisted in the Marine Corps from 2005 - 2010. He was deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit for six months in 2007 (February - July) and again with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit for seven months in 2008 - 2009 (September - March).

“My first deployment was considered Operation Iraqi Freedom when we were still under President Bush. My second deployment was considered Operation Enduring Freedom, under President Obama,” Coleman said.

Coleman worked his way up through the ranks in the Marines, starting as a Private and ending as a Sergeant.

“I started as a Private, and I worked my way up to Private First Class, Lance Corporal, Corporal, and spent my last year in the Marines as a Sergeant,” Coleman said.

Coleman worked as a helicopter mechanic with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 264 (HMM-264). He would deploy on Navy landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships with helicopters and jets.

Coleman says that he would definitely do everything over again, joining the military and the hardships that came along with it.

“I would join the Marines again most for the camaraderie; it was definitely the best part. I also thrive when I have some structure, and there was definitely a lot of structure. I got to go to and experience a lot of countries that I would never have been able to. I went to Sicily, Spain, Israel, Dubai, Turkey, Bahrain, Jordan, and Kuwait. I also spent 45 days off the Horn of Africa,” Coleman said.

Coleman thinks that anybody in his position should serve in the military. If someone were to ask him for his advice about joining the marines, the biggest thing he would tell them is to run.

“Run, if you can. If you can train yourself to run a little bit before you join boot camp, it will be so much easier. I was never a runner or anything, so that was one of my biggest challenges. I would also tell a young man or woman to join the military if he or she had limited options as I did,” Coleman said.

Outside of the military, Coleman spends most of his time caring for and having fun with his family.

“I have a beautiful wife and three kids. My oldest son has Down syndrome. My wife got pregnant with him before I went to boot camp. After my first tour, we planned on having another baby, and that is when I got my daughter. Then, we had one more baby, my last son,” Coleman said.