by Jesse Disbrow
Lt. Christopher Marion had just graduated from Spencer-Van Etten High School in 2000 and enrolled into Binghamton University when he decided to enlist in the National Guard. While it wasn’t much of a big deal at the time, since then it has changed his life helping him become and officer and a humanitarian.
It was December of 2000 when a high school classmate contacted Marion and told him he was interested in enlisting at the Ithaca Armory. Marion decided to go with him to find out if the Guard would turn out to be as good as all the recruiting speeches he had heard.
“This was obviously prior to 9-11 and from what I saw, joining the Guard was a great way to pay for college, serve the country, help out around the state and be part of something that offered the camaraderie that I was missing since I was no longer a part of the high school football, track or wrestling teams,” said Marion.
Marion had first joined to help pay for college and to be part of a group as he had with high school sports. But when 9/11 occurred, the National Guard changed and with it so did Marion’s one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer service time.
Marion finished his basic training and was assigned to Stewart Air Force Base in Newburgh, NY in January 2003. After almost two years and a promotion to Specialist later, Marion returned home in December 2004 to pick up the second semester of his junior year at Binghamton.
Towards the end of his junior year he was once again approached by the military, but this time it was because he had been recommended for Officer Candidate School (OCS). Marion would earn his commission and the rank of Second Lieutenant from The Empire State Military during the summer of 2005.
After a short stint as site commander of two Long Island rail yards, Marion finished his college career at Binghamton graduating with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Law in December 2005.
Marion decided that the military would be his course after college and attended officer training at Ft. Benning, GA and Ft. Leonardwood, MO, where he graduated as an honor graduate in July 2007.
In January 2008, Marion was mobilized for deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After two months of training at Ft. Bragg, NC Marion and his unit arrived in Afghanistan in April.
Since arriving Marion has traveled all across the country as First Lieutenant and platoon leader of a heavy weapons and escort unit, though he has mostly been stationed in the capital of Kabul.