GEICO Military Service Award honoree's dream of being a Marine was nearly derailed
FORT WORTH, Texas, May 14, 2019 – Military service is in U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Gregory Bogaczyk's blood. The Blossburg, Pennsylvania, native's maternal grandfather was a WWII Navy sailor; his father served in the Air Force, and his brother was in both the Army and Air Force National Guard.
Staff Sgt. Bogaczyk always knew he wanted to follow in their footsteps, but he faced a threat that his dream of serving his country would never come true.
"I originally enlisted in 2004, but I was sent home shortly after arriving at boot camp because of a large bone cyst in my jaw," he recalled.
Disappointed but not deterred, Staff Sgt. Bogaczyk was medically-cleared to re-enlisted in 2006 after undergoing surgeries. It was all worth it, he said.
"Serving and protecting my country and helping those in need is all that I've ever wanted to do," said Staff Sgt. Bogaczyk, the Ground Safety Manager and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Chief for Marine Aircraft Group 41 at Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, Texas.
On April 29, Staff Sgt. Bogaczyk accepted a 2018 GEICO Military Service Award for creating an Arrive Alive designated driver program, a motorcycle safety campaign and many other efforts to keep his fellow Marines out of harm's way.
"As military safety personnel, we aren't always applauded for what we do, but knowing that you had a hand in mitigating and preventing mishaps is extremely rewarding," he said.
His service in the Marines has taken him to bases around the country and to Iraq, where he was deployed with the Wyoming, Pennsylvania-based Marine Wing Support Squadron 472. He will soon leave Fort Worth for new orders in Twentynine Palms, California. While Staff Sgt. Bogaczyk says seeing various corners of the country is one of the best parts of his job, he also conceded the constant moving is a challenge, especially now that he and his wife Jenna have a 2-year-old son.
Still, he would not trade his life in the service and being a part of the great legacy of men and women who have given so much to this country.
"Without those who are willing to serve, we would not have this great nation that we all enjoy," said Staff Sgt. Bogaczyk, who unwinds by hiking, fixing cars and motorcycles and spending time with his family.
He has been in the military long enough to witness Marines he has trained and mentored grow into leaders and mentors in their own right. To those considering following his path by joining the Marines, Staff Sgt. Bogaczyk offers this sage advice: "Have an open mind; be ready to work; and give your best every day."
This year marked the 30th anniversary of the GEICO Military Service Awards, which honor one enlisted member from each of the five Armed Services and one member from the National Guard or Reserve for their achievements and contributions to civilian and military communities.
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