County native re-enlists with Marine Corps

In October, Brayden Scruggs will go to recruiting school so he can find a few good men — and women, too — in his next role with the U.S. Marine Corps.

After graduating in December, the 22-year-old Jackson County native will move from California to his home state of Indiana to become a recruiter.

He’s the perfect person for the job since he has had a variety of experiences in his first four years of military service and can share that with those interested in joining the Marine Corps.

“I knew that my journey with the Marine Corps wasn’t over,” he said of recently re-enlisting. “I plan on being a career Marine, 20 years.”

He had to decide whether he wanted to be a drill instructor, a recruiter or a combat instructor.

Drill instructor wasn’t appealing because he said he didn’t want to lose his voice every day from screaming, although it’s fun.

Recruiter, though, would allow him to be with his family more, including his nearly 2-year-old daughter, Miley Jo.

“I had my daughter two weeks before I left for my deployment, so that was a bit interesting,” he said. “I came back seven months later, and she was doing her thing as a little toddler. I missed a lot. I missed first word. I missed walking, crawling. I missed everything, and I experienced everything over the phone, so that was really hard. I just chose a job where I could spend more time with my daughter and watch her grow as well as do my job.”

The next step in his military career is exciting to Scruggs.

“What I’m looking forward to is taking a second to chill out, kind of slow the momentum down, stay home for a little bit, spend some time with my family as well as find some good Marines that I can get into the service,” he said.

“A good thing with being in the infantry is everybody supports you, and you work with just about everybody, so I feel like with my experience, I’ve met so many people with so many different jobs that I can paint a picture to these young kids that are about to join the Marine Corps,” he said.

Scruggs attended Brownstown schools from kindergarten through 11th grade, and then he spent his senior year at Seymour High School and graduated in 2018.

At the beginning of his senior year, he met a Marine Corps recruiter at school one day, and he later messaged him on Facebook.

“My dad, growing up, he has been in prison, and one of his letters told me I should join the military and do something good,” Scruggs said. “I always thought about that, and then I finally got a message from a recruiter, and it was the Marine Corps. I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’ They are just the best of the best.”

Through the Delayed Entry Program, Scruggs had physical training once a week during his senior year to help him get ready for boot camp and kick-start his career.

A month after graduation, he was 17 when he headed to San Diego, California, for three months of boot camp. Then he was in the school of infantry for two months.

“It’s teaching you everything you need to know about the infantry — how to use weapon systems, weaponeering, how to shoot, move and communicate basically,” Scruggs said. “I chose infantry whenever I was in the DEP program before I went to boot camp. Just the physical aspect, I knew that I didn’t want to be sitting at a computer or driving a vehicle. I wanted to be the person that was in the action.”

After infantry school, he was assigned to his first unit, 3rd Battalion 1st Marines, at Camp Horno at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. He was part of Lima Company for three years, and a year into workups, he was assigned to be a team leader in charge of four people.

“Once I got assigned that, I practiced with my team every day, my squad, and then fast forward two years, I’m going on my first deployment to the Middle East,” Scruggs said.

From October 2020 to April 2021, he spent time in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Germany doing crisis response.

“Being from Jackson County, Indiana, the closest thing that I went from traveling was to Illinois or Kentucky. My first time ever being on a plane, I flew to boot camp just to get off the plane to get yelled at,” he said. “So traveling to different countries and getting to experience different cultures and just the people, we met so many cool people, like I met the king of Saudi Arabia.”

Scruggs said he also did a lot of cool training and interacted with Saudi Arabians.

“We met them, ate dinner with them, stayed with them for a week, just got to experience each other’s lives,” he said. “They are super fun people, and I never thought in a million years I would travel to a different country and be able to share those experiences that I shared.”

Back in the United States, he was promoted to corporal and became a squad leader. He was in charge of a dozen people and had 27 Junior Marines, training them and getting them ready for their experience and their workup for deployment.

After seven months, he received orders to go to the 1st Marine Regiment and was part of a jump team.

In October, he will check out of that unit so he can attend recruiting school for three months.

Scruggs looks forward to seeing where his military career goes from there.

“This country is my favorite in the world, and I would do anything for it,” he said. “To serve my country, honestly, it gives me an opportunity. Not a lot of people have been able to actually get out there and do the things that I’ve done, and to look back at it, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I’ve gone through hardships, I’ve gone through ups and downs and I wouldn’t change them for the world.”

Scruggs file 

Name: Brayden Scruggs

Age: 22

Hometown: Brownstown

Residence: Newport Beach, California

Education: Seymour High School (2018)

Occupation: Served in the U.S. Marine Corps since 2018

Family: Mother, Dana Christian; stepfather, Shawn Christian; daughter, Miley Jo Scruggs; sisters, Kameryn Reed and Ava Deaton