A former Marine whose life out of uniform was made complicated by post-traumatic stress disorder has found a new life at sea, thanks to a friend who works for Sen. John Kerry, who paved the way for him to find work as a swordfish boat crewman.
Guatemala-born Erick Valiente came to Massachusetts as a child. He joined the Marine Corps when he was 20 years old, and served in the reserves for six years; this included a tour in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2006, where he earned a combat action ribbon. In all those years of service, Valiente said he saw things that he would rather not repeat.
Valiente shared: “Some days it got pretty bad… Iraq is hard, dealing with losing friends and stuff you shouldn’t be dealing with at that age.” He also shared that despite the fact that he liked being in the military, post-traumatic stress disorder made it difficult to continue serving as an infantryman. So he left the service.
After the Marine Corps, Valiente tried various things, including college, and several odd jobs. He shared, however, “Finding a job once you get out of the Marine Corps, you tend to get really bored really, really fast.”
He finally found a job that was not dull, but it was not for everyone. Valiente is now working as a crew member of the Iron Lady, where he now endured grueling work days as well as faced the dangers associated with a thrashing, big game fish. He shared: “It’s tough on the water… It’s tough in Iraq, but it’s tough on the water.”