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Recruiter Makes Most of Every Day

Compliments of:

By Marine Corps Cpl. Adam Leyendecker
1st Marine Corps District

For many Marines, recruiting duty can mean working sunrise to sunset, or in some cases, even later. Many work weekends and sometimes even holidays, sacrificing time that could be spent at home with family.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps recruiter Sgt. Curtis D. Bennion points to the “Pride of Belonging” benefit tag during an appointment with an applicant, April 12, 2013. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Adam Leyendecker

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Marine Corps Sgt. Curtis D. Bennion, a recruiter here at Recruiting Substation Batavia, Recruiting Station Buffalo, 1st Marine Corps District, maximizes the time he has during every day of the week, both as a Marine and as a member of his community.

On Sept. 8, 2004, Bennion, who grew up on a dairy farm in Portageville, N.Y., decided to leave the farm to see what else was out there. That’s when he found himself at a local Marine Corps recruiting office and told the recruiter he wanted to join the military. He said he recalls the recruiter telling him, “Get out, and come back when you want to be a Marine.”

He walked back in 10 minutes later, he said, because he wanted to challenge himself to do something not most people are willing or able to do and to be part of the best.

After joining the Marine Corps, Bennion became a motor transport operator and deployed to Iraq with an explosive ordnance disposal unit in 2004 and 2005. After spending much of the early part of his career away from his home and family due to being called to duty overseas, Bennion now finds himself recruiting in western New York state, where he grew up.

Bennion said he has adapted the same mentality his recruiter had, with a no-nonsense approach.

“I’m not a salesman,” he said. “I offer the Marine Corps as an option, but I don’t get all hyped up and show emotion to sell someone into joining the Corps.”

Bennion’s approach to recruiting has helped him earn one of the top spots among the recruiters at Recruiting Station Buffalo in the last year.

“There is no Marine that works as hard as this guy,” said Marine Corps Sgt. Thomas Colombrito IV, a recruiter from Recruiting Substation Batavia. “He doesn’t go to sleep until 11 p.m., and he’s already at the office working out at 5 o’clock in the morning while I am still sleeping.”

Recruiting Station Buffalo officials also have noted Bennion’s significant contributions to recruiting reservists and women. Many of his recruits become squad leaders or guides in their boot camp platoons, and he works hard to prepare his “poolees” — the young men and women waiting to leave for recruit training.

“He’s the poster-boy Marine,” Colombrito said. “He does everything the Marine Corps way. He’s always up in front of the pool, leading his poolees. They all want to emulate Sergeant Bennion.”

When Bennion isn’t recruiting, he is finding ways to become an influence in his community. He is a volunteer firefighter, training for two hours every Monday and putting in 10 hours a week at the department.

Paul Dougherty, the fire chief of the Pavilion Fire Department, said being a volunteer firefighter isn’t an easy task. It takes a willingness to drop whatever you are doing whenever an incident strikes, whether it is in the evening or on weekends and holidays, he added.

On Christmas Day, Bennion woke up at 3 a.m. to attend to a trailer fire, spending six hours helping to put out the flames.

“Bennion’s experience in the Marine Corps has benefited him in being able to adapt to people he doesn’t know to achieve the mission,” Dougherty said. “It is difficult to acquire and retain members, so it is good to see someone like Curtis come along.”

Bennion’s involvement in his community doesn’t stop there. The Medina High School band had him march them onto the field during the New York State Field Band Championships in Syracuse, N.Y. The theme of the song they marched to was a tribute to him and all service members who fought before him and for the ones who will follow.

“Bennion is a Marine from family life to work,” Colombrito said. “He never stops.”

Bennion said his success and his family’s success are what drive him to continue to grow into the best Marine, father, husband and man he can be. After recruiting duty, he added, he hopes to become an instructor at his military occupational specialty’s school. He also hopes to achieve the rank of master gunnery sergeant someday to continue to lead the future of the Marine Corps, he said.

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About Edited by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer.  In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials.  Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat.  Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republican and The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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