Anthony Scardino, Staff Sergeant, United States Marine Corps (Retired)
Religion has always been a very important part of my life. Prior to my time in the service
I attended private Catholic schools and would make time to do nothing but sit and listen to what the Lord had to tell me. My faith was the foundation of my very being, and I was fortunate enough to carry it with me into the service. However, somewhere along the way, my career as a Marine took precedence over my faith life, and it seemed that I had lost it forever. Life in the combat arms realm of the Marine Corps is fast paced and highly stressful. It consumes nearly all of your life, and if you want to succeed in it, it seems like you have to let it. For me, my faith was difficult to hold onto and keep track of. Several factors contributed to this for me. The primary reason being that failure to pass a school (accomplish the mission) meant being ostracized by your peers. Therefore there was always something to take precedence over my faith life. Scout Sniper School, MARSOC’s Individual Training Course, the Combatant Diver Course, Jump School, and multiple other shooting courses and specialized schools all became more important than my faith life. A decade later I found myself being medically retired from the Marine Corps. I was in a terrible place physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and when I needed it most, it seemed that I had lost the foundation of my faith. Of all of the units that I could have been sent to in the Marine Corps, and all of the commanders that I could have ended up serving under, I was sent to the Wounded Warrior Detachment in 29 Palms California, and my commander was the founder of Soul Survivor Outdoor, LtCol. Rick Wolf. It took no time to realize that LtCol. Wolf is a passionate and faith filled leader, intent on providing the best environment possible to aid in the spiritual and physical rehabilitation of those under his care. I can honestly say that it was LtCol. Wolf’s Soul Survivor Outdoor program that helped me excavate years worth of emotional debris that had covered my spiritual foundation as a person. It was because of this wonderful program that I was allowed to rediscover and reconnect with my faith life. It was only then that my healing was truly able to begin. And though I
continue to struggle with my transition and healing, it was the Soul Survivor Outdoor program that has given me the confidence to know that the religious foundation upon which I stand is still strong and will never go away.