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Gunnery Sgt. James J. Dacey, company gunnery sergeant for Support Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, runs aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., September 28, 2011. Dacey regularly runs atleast nine miles to practice for his 345-mile run from Camp Lejeune the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., in honor of wounded warriors beginning October 22, 2011. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Franklin E. Mercado)

Photo by Pfc. Franklin E. Mercado

Change of life turns into way of life

28 Sep 2011 | Pfc. Franklin E. Mercado

Ready for a 14-mile light jog from main side Camp Lejeune, N.C., to Court House Bay, N.C., and back? Gunnery Sgt. James J. Dacey is.

The company gunnery sergeant for Support Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group isn’t one to be reckoned with. Dacey, a 35-year-old North Arlington, N.J., native runs at least nine miles six days a week. He is 11 years into his career and isn’t regretting a moment of it.

“I originally joined for a change of life,” Dacey said. “I wanted something more for myself. Life was getting stagnant, and I wanted to challenge myself. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.”

When Dacey enlisted, he joined the Corps as a heavy equipment mechanic, but has since taken a leadership billet route in which he is in charge of several hundred Marines.

“I love to lead Marines; it’s the best part of my job,” Dacey said. “I help guide Marines whether it be through their day or careers.”

He takes his job personally because of the direct effect he has on each Marine he comes in contact with, explained Dacey. Guiding Marines is something he takes seriously.

“If I had to give Marines any advice, it would be to listen to their staff noncommissioned officers,” he said. “[Marines] should trust them because [SNCO] aren’t here to hurt them. [Marines] don’t always have to make mistakes to learn.”

The attitude he brings to the job is due in part to his upbringing by his mother who raised three children on her own. Dacey says she is a hero to him.

“The way my mother managed to raise me and my two sisters is incredible,” Dacey said. “Sometimes she might not realize what good of a job she did, but I can’t say enough for what she’s done for our family.”

As he moves forward in his career, Dacey takes on new challenges with the same determination his mother had raising three children; a determination that has led him to attempt a 345-mile run from Camp Lejeune to National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.

“I’m going to run from the front gate of Lejeune to Bethesda,” Dacey said. “It’s in honor of fallen service members and for the wounded warriors at the hospital.”

The run begins in late October and will last approximately two weeks. Merely attempting the run that will span three states takes courage, and Dacey isn’t shying away from the challenge.


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