News: Marine exemplifies honor at home, at work, abroad
Story by Lance Cpl. Joshua Brown
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Intelligence is an important piece of the pie that is the Marine Corps. Without it, the pie wouldn’t exist. Intel provides all those measurements and directions necessary to make its creation possible.
Cpl. Jason X. Colon, a Tampa, Fla., native, is a special intelligence communicator assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. As a member of the intelligence section of the unit, he provides a deep comprehension of computer systems and intelligence communications that make missions and operations possible.
Coming from Cuban and Spanish ancestry, Colon is third generation American and the fourth U.S. service member in his family.
“My grandfather was in the Navy, my uncle was in the Army, and my dad was in the Army during Vietnam,” said Colon.
Colon said the history of military service in his family wasn’t the driving factor behind his enlistment. His original plan involved getting a bachelor’s degree in finance, and he was well on his way to achieving this when he changed his course.
“I grew up patriotic,” said Colon. “When Iraq was invaded and present on the news, I saw what others were sacrificing for the freedoms I took for granted, and I wanted to fight for those freedoms because I am capable.”
This spark of motivation set Colon on track to enlist in the military, and in 2010, while working full time at a medical clinic and attending Florida International University, he gave up both to enlist in the Marine Corps.
“I am capable to serve and fight for the things [the United States] represents, so there was no excuse not to join,” said Colon.
Colon said his family was concerned for his safety and well-being, so they expressed some discontent with his decision initially, but after he explained his intentions and the reason behind his decision, they became supportive and understanding.
While he’s been with the 26th MEU, Colon has participated in multiple operations and deployed to provide relief during Hurricane Sandy, and the 2013 deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.
“My mom was apprehensive and concerned about deployment because it was my first one,” said Colon. “But, during Hurricane Sandy response, she saw the efforts and news about the 26th MEU on television, and she felt why deploying is important and had those tangible results.”
In addition to his family back in Florida, Colon is married. He dated his now wife for five years with the relationship starting before his enlistment and continuing throughout his first enlistment up into marriage.
“She’s been very supportive, even before I joined, and she’s continuing to do so,” said Colon.
Colon said he desires to deploy again if given the opportunity, because he has the support of his wife and family, and the guidance of his leadership.
Master Sgt. Michael D. Crouch, the 26th MEU intelligence chief and the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Colon, said, “[Colon] came here from II Marine Expeditionary Force, and he was ready to deploy and get things done.”
Crouch works directly with Colon and provided a set of eyes and a guiding hand in Colon’s Marine Corps development throughout daily operations and deployments.
“He showed enthusiasm, proficiency and knowledge, so we sent him to multiple courses and classes to help him refine his skills even more,” said Crouch. “He really gained a wealth of information, and it’s apparent that he’s grown exponentially as a leader.”
Colon’s position at the MEU is a noncommissioned officer’s position. He is currently a noncommissioned officer, but prior to his promotion he was filling the same position as a junior Marine.
“He excelled at the position when he was a lance corporal, so he came here good, but now he’s even better,” said Crouch. “He is one of the key roles in our intelligence team, and an exemplary corporal of Marines.”
As a corporal, Colon is expected to hold himself to and attempt to exceed the high standards the Marine Corps has in place, and in turn work with the Marines in his charge to inspire them to seek and do the same.
“He’ll correct a Marine on his deficiencies, and he’ll hold himself to that same standard,” said Crouch. “He will do well anywhere he goes, because he has the knowledge and skill to succeed, and demonstrates the best qualities a Marine can have.”
Colon is planning to reenlist this year and continue to serve his country.
“I’m taking it one enlistment at a time,” said Colon. “I’m not focused as much on being a career Marine as I am on doing my job well, advancing, and doing my best.”
He plans to finish school in the future, and continue to stay close to his wife and family while maintaining those skills and traits the Marine Corps has instilled in him.
“Selflessness is the most important thing I’ve learned in the Marine Corps,” said Colon. “It’s not always about you. It’s about putting those personal interests in the background so you can be there for others and make that sacrifice, and it’s difficult, but it’s worth it every time.”