U.S. Marine Corps veteran Garrett Dunn is well known around Anza for his willingness to do just about anything for youth sports and Hamilton K-8 School’s extra-curricular activities. As a loving father of four children, he said he gets involved where it counts.
Dunn served in the Marines from 2006 through 2012 as an aviation ordinance technician. According to the Marine Corps, aviation ordinance equipment repair technicians perform some of the most dangerous tasks in the service. They repair, stow, test, maintain, assemble and transport airborne armament equipment, including air-launched missiles, aircraft guns, turrets and aerial targets. They also perform inspections, testing, adjustments and preventive maintenance on support equipment.
“I did ordinance builds, tear down, transportation, storage and logistics, as well as maintenance,” Dunn said.
He said he was inspired to join the Marines in part by his father.
“My dad served 1986-1992, so that had factored in a little bit,” he said. “I didn’t play my cards the way I should have in high school, so I wasn’t going to college, even though I was an honor student. In the summer of my senior year, I went to Subway for lunch. I was dressed up for some reason, and the local Marine recruiter, Staff Sgt. Martens, stopped me and goes, ‘Hey man, how long have you been in?’ I said, ‘I’m still in high school.’ I guess that was the point where I knew that’s what I was going to do.”
He was deployed from January through August 2008 to Iraq and was sent to South Korea for a year in 2009.
He met his wife Jennifer in November 2008, and by Feb. 20, 2009, they were married.
“Then I went to Korea less than three weeks later!” he said.
Dunn was medically retired in 2012, much to his disappointment.
Being medically retired shattered his goals of a long career and early retirement, he said.
“I was planning the 20-year career, retire at age 39, and do whatever I could afterward route. Instead, I struggled mentally and physically with the realization that I wasn’t going to see that dream come to fruition,” Dunn said.
The young family moved to Anza, partially to be close to his wife’s parents. They made the valley their home, becoming involved in school and youth activities. The Dunns are both on the PTSA Executive Board – Jennifer Dunn is parliamentarian, and he serves as treasurer.
“I am working on a real estate investing business, and Jennifer is part of the Plexus business, so she’s going to be continuing that venture,” Garrett Dunn said.
It has not been an easy journey since his discharge from the Marine Corps, he said, but he has overcome every obstacle so far.
“You know, each of us handle adversity differently. It took me six years to figure out what I wanted – or could – do. There’s two things that pique my interest: real estate and hot rods,” Dunn said. “Once I figured out how to get out of the hole I was in, doors opened that I never thought would open. Becoming a born-again Christian saved my life and got me out of the suicidal tendency mindset I had been filled with. I had to remember that when I was younger and full of faith, I was able to do anything, to the point where I was known by my peers as Superman Dunn, Animal and Teddy Bear. With that mindset, I’ve been able to reinvent myself and move on from the atrocity of self-reflection that was the last 10 years.”
The future is very bright for Anza veteran Garrett Dunn, and getting brighter every day, he said.
Diane Sieker can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.