A local Marine who ‘just goes to work’

Published 4:45 pm Friday, May 27, 2011

U.S. MARINE SGT. CORY WEEKS, who is the son of Kevin and Linda Conoly of Faceville, Ga., is one of thousands of brave men and women who “go to work” each day in defense of our country’s citizens and interests abroad.


Special to The Post-Searchlight

Seldom are we as Americans given the opportunity to do something truly great for our country.

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When these situations do indeed arise, it is important that we devote the proper honor and respect to those deserving of such.

In October of 2005, Sgt. Cory Weeks of the U.S. Marine Corps embarked on a life-changing path. His courage and selfless service have left an indelible impression upon those who have fought by his side and upon those whose interests he currently serves. Throughout his service, Sgt. Weeks has received some 15 commendations including two Purple Hearts, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Sgt. Weeks in Berlin, Germany, where he was serving as part of the Marine Corps Security Guard detachment at the U.S. Embassy.

Sgt. Weeks is the son of Kevin and Linda Conoly of Faceville, Ga. He graduated from Bainbridge High School as part of the class of 2004. After Sgt. Weeks graduated from basic training, he began schooling as a combat engineer. His basic responsibilities, when with the fleet, include vertical construction, masonry projects, bridge building, mine sweeping, route clearance and demolition.

Sgt. Weeks has been deployed twice as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in 2007 and 2008, and once as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), in 2009. Within a month of his deployment to Iraq, Sgt. Weeks took his first enemy contact while conducting a sweep and clear mission in his Area of Operation looking for enemy weapons caches. His squad returned fire, successfully defending its position and earning the Combat Action Ribbon.

Later in 2007, Sgt. Weeks was acting as lead gunner for a patrol convoy east of Fallujah, a central Iraqi city, when his vehicle was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). He was hit by shrapnel and received a severe concussion. For his injury in the line of duty, Sgt. Weeks was awarded his first Purple Heart.

He earned another a short time later while manning an M2 machine gun in an area that his unit had recently secured. After assuming a defensive position, an enemy combatant employing a Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) charged his position, detonating explosives. Sgt. Weeks sustained serious shrapnel injuries to his right leg and yet another severe concussion.

Sgt. Weeks recently began his second of three one-year assignments as part of the Marine Security Guard Program in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa. This country has been embroiled in civil war for many years and is still considered to be an active war zone.

In his spare time, Sgt. Weeks works toward his Bachelor of Arts in Engineering. He plans to commission as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps after the completion of his degree and ultimately, to make a career out of the military.

Particularly interesting is that while many soldiers and Marines look forward to receiving medals such as the Purple Heart, Sgt. Weeks is indignant, stating that many other soldiers and Marines have sustained more grave injuries or death. This is a true testament to his modesty and desire to serve for the accomplishment and not for the glory.

As a childhood friend of this Marine, I like many others was oblivious to his accomplishments until I had the opportunity to spend time with him and his fellow Marines. Sgt. Weeks is one of thousands of brave men and women who “go to work” each day in defense of our country’s citizens and interests abroad. It goes without saying that this man, Marine, son and friend deserves our lifelong appreciation and admiration.

Matthew R. Goulding is pursuing a Global Master of Arts in International Relations, studying at multiple campuses throughout Europe and Asia. His areas of specialization include counterinsurgency and counter terrorism. Goulding graduated from Bainbridge High School with the class of 2004.