GREER, S.C. (WSPA) – Sergeant Major Harry Joe Green has spent more than half of his life serving our country.
“And of course, initially it was, hey, let’s go in. Let’s try it see what it’s like,” Green told 7NEWS. “If I don’t like it, I only had to serve five years. And it turned into 30.”
Green joined the Marine Corps when he was 17 years old and became a bulk fuel specialist.
“The job of bulk fueler is that you receive fuel, you clean it, you keep it clean,” Green explained. “You have to keep re-circulating it, keeping it clean, and then you store it and then distribute it. With the storage, it’s like I said, it’s over a million at a time. It could be over a million gallons you have on the ground.”
From tanks to airplanes.
If it ran on fuel, Green was responsible for it, and that job took him all over the world and back.
“My first duty station was the American embassy in Bujumbura Burundi, Africa and then my second posting was Bern, Switzerland,” Green said.
Then to Japan and California, which were non-combat deployments.
Then came Iraq.
“First, I was with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit,” Green said. “Went over there, and we were there for the initial invasion of Iraq.”
He deployed to Iraq three times before he changed units, which changed his role.
“I was the First Sergeant for First Battalion Second Marines,” Green added. “We deployed to Afghanistan. Long tour there, we spent almost a year there.”
Which was a combat zone.
“We always had something happen,” Green explained. “Either being fired upon, having a rocket shot at us, having something being done. So yeah, we were always on the upscale, always have somebody on post.”
Green described that memory as rough.
“We lost a lot of Marines during that point,” he said. “And, you know, that was one that, you know, most of us will always remember.”
For a while, it created trauma for Green.
Some trauma, he said he still has to work through.
“There’s certain things and whatever I can’t… watch on tv. Otherwise, it brings back memories,” Green said. “Always the thought of, you know, those who we lost- constant reminder.”
He said family support also helps with coping.
After Afghanistan, Green was selected to Sergeant Major Nine where he did his first tour at New River Air Station in North Carolina.
“I did three years there. And then my next tour I did was on the ground side,” he said. “Went back to Second Marine Division, and I had Second Battalion, Sixth Marines. I had that for three, almost four years. And then I went and moved on to headquarters.”
That’s where Green’s chapter with the Marines closed, a whole 30 years and two weeks later.
Green said he’s grateful for it and the pride that comes with calling himself a Marine.
“No one else can really say that,” he explained. “They can’t say that, ‘hey, you know, we’re the first ones that they call upon. We’re the first ones. We’re the only ones that the president can send in without Congress.'”
Green said he learned a lot and has no regrets.
Harry Green, Thank You for Your Service.
If you know of a veteran needing help, click here for resources.
If you are a veteran wanting to share your story, click here.