Marine under par for career[MIGRATE]

By Cpl. J. Micah Plotts | June 09, 2005


(Photo by Cpl. J. Micah Plotts)

His smile widens as the junior Marine walks into his office. Marine Corps posters and golf trophies flank the young corporal as he's greeted by a firm handshake and a likeable southern accent. He takes a seat, and they both lean forward. Before the interview, they breach the subject of family, and Staff Sgt. Benjamin Dillon, career planner, shares a story with the young corporal before their interview.

"My mom and dad would go shopping, so my older sister would watch me and my brothers. She would beat the heck out of all of us. Then when my mom and dad came home, she said my brothers and I had been fighting each other and we'd get it again. She was evil man," Dillon joked.
They laugh and soon get down to work, something Dillon knows all about.

The West Virginia native balances volunteering with first graders, coaching softball and football, working as the career planner here, being a family man and pursuing his life-long goal of becoming a golf pro.

Even though that list could fill a 30-hour day, Dillon still has time to mentor junior Marines and share the occasional anecdote.

"I miss supervising Marines and helping them along the right track. I know how to lead Marines, and I really enjoy it. Any chance I get to lead Marines, I take it," said Dillon.

While Dillon has no Marine working directly for him, he does, on the other hand, provide knowledge and guidance to every Marine stationed here regarding his or her career.

"I make sure all the first term Marines know what they need to do to be successful. I help them with changing duty stations, reenlistments and how to better their chances of getting promoted," he continued.

"When I got here two years ago, our career planner was in Bahrain for a year. So I got everybody caught up with interviews. It's a key part to career planning," said Dillon.

Before He was guiding Marines down the right path, Dillon was a petty officer in the Navy.

"My last job in the Navy was reenlistments and retirements; the same thing I'm doing right now," said Dillon.

After his honorable discharge from the Navy, Dillon worked construction for his brother and had a successful stint as a vacuum salesman.

"I once sold a vacuum to a lady with no carpet," He proclaimed.

"I was number one in sales my first month. I sold 30 of those bad boys, but the benefits weren't there," he continued.

"I told my wife I was going to see a Marine recruiter, because I wanted to be part of the best."

Dillon was twenty-seven years old when he went to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., in July of 1997. He enlisted as a hygiene equipment operator and was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Iwakuni, Japan, before coming here.

Since he's been here, Dillon's done nothing but help others both on and off base.

"I've been doing a lot for the big brother program and with disabled veterans. I started about 12 years ago," Dillon commented.

His proudest moment actually came here in Hawaii with the children he's tutored this year.
"One kid in particular couldn't even say his ABCs, and he's in the first grade. During the year, there are 11 lists of words they need to know, and when we started he could barely get through the first list. The last time I got to tutor him this year, he completed list 11," explained Dillon.

The child went from struggling with simple words to reading a book in about three months, according to Dillon.

When Dillon finds a shred of free time in his busy week, he works on his golf handicap.
"I've been golfing for about 17 years. I love it. I'll golf anywhere," Dillon exclaimed.

But golf is not just a hobby for Dillon.

"I'd like to work as a golf superintendent or get my PGA card so I can teach. After I turn 50, I think I can make it on the PGA Champions Tour," Dillon said.

For now, Dillon remains diligent. He'll continue to help Marines make career choices that will shape their future.

Next year, Dillon will leave for Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., and in a few years from now, he'll retire.

Dillon closed by saying, "Something my parents told me when I was young, which I've kept with me my whole life is you treat others with respect and they'll treat you with respect."

Whether it's respect toward a fellow Marine, a struggling first grader, or an opponent in match play, Dillon always hits inside the black, and expects them to do the same.