A Marine who graduated from Quartz Hill High School in 2010 is finding a world of opportunity since having left the Antelope Valley.
Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson, 21, told the Antelope Valley Times he is deployed with a task force in Takoradi, Ghana, serving as a small-boat mechanic to train a team of Ghanaian sailors in maintenance and operations.
“What’s really unique is probably what the sailors’ experience means to them,” he said. “With the Marine Corps working alongside Ghana’s navy, we’re giving them an experience that they will probably never get to experience without us – along with creating good partnerships.”
Jackson is part of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 14.1, whose public affairs officer, 1st Lt. James Stenger, explained is a theater security cooperation team tasked with strengthening the defense capabilities of partner states and regional organizations.
“We’ve done various things, such as training different countries with militaries, including things that range from basic infantry tactics to amphibious raid tactics,” Stenger said.
Jackson said he’s surprised by how far the mission has brought him to understanding a world so different from home.
“It’s a really good experience,” Jackson said. “Meeting the Ghanaian navy, and actually getting in experience time with them – getting involved in their culture, sitting down and eating with them, and enjoying time with them overall.”
Jackson said he initially joined the Marine Corps to begin a “better life and kind of branch away from the Antelope Valley.”
Jackson traveled from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, with members of the small theater security cooperation team to pass on his knowledge of small engines. Stationed in Camp Pendleton, he was selected for his skills to join this group of Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Having experienced a world of opportunities and a renewed purpose in life, Jackson said he wants more.
“I actually want to continue to work in the boat field, continuing with both small boats and large boats, and hopefully attend a tech school.”
As far as his home, the Antelope Valley, Jackson said his family may not reside there anymore, but he still misses where he was born and raised.
“It’s still home for me,” he said. “I still have a lot of cousins out there along with really good friends. So, it’s still something I come back to when I’m stationed in Camp Pendleton.”
And if he had to name one thing he misses the most, he said it would be ‘wrestling.’
“I was in wrestling in high school and I miss it,” Jackson said. “Even after high school, I would sometimes go and watch the wrestling matches – wherever I could find them.”
Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa 14.1 is charged with supporting U.S. Africa Command and Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa’s theater security cooperation requirements to help deter and defeat transnational threats, and strengthen the ability to conduct good governance and development. The unit is currently commanded by 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.