Marine Corps Systems Command
By Emily Greene
January 6, 2017
Farmer credits the support and compassion of the two men—part of his leadership team at MCSC—with saving his life during a time when he contemplated suicide. Today, Farmer battles post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and urges leaders across the Marine Corps to show understanding and compassion for Marines who may be suffering.
Joseph Klocek (left) and Maj. Scott Graniero (right) pose with Master Sgt. Clifford Farmer at Marine Corps Systems Command aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VA -- Master Sgt. Clifford Farmer is one tough Marine. As an explosive ordnance disposal technician with four combat tours under his belt, he has years of experience neutralizing and disposing of deadly explosives, including improvised explosive devices, the signature weapon of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
“We always joke in the field that some of us aren’t EOD techs, we’re IED techs,” Farmer said laughingly. “But, truth be told, and as much as I love my family, deployments are my happy place. As a Marine that is where I want to be – on the front lines with my Marines.”
When this battle-hardened senior non-commissioned officer transitioned from serving in operational environments to a support role at Marine Corps Systems Command it was hard.
“I never saw myself not in the field, side-by-side with my Marines,” he said. “At first I didn’t see how my new job was helping the Corps. And I was never cut out for a desk job.”
Little did he know his life was on the line again, but in a way he never saw coming. This time the enemy was himself.
“In the Corps the question is always ‘what have you done for the Marine Corps today?’ It’s about selfless service; someone else always has it worse,” Farmer said. “Throughout my career I’ve had aches and pains and just disregarded them as a passing inconvenience. My physical issues were nothing compared to seeing a friend die, and supporting the friend who carried him home. Everything else seems insignificant. I’ve since learned it’s also important to have self-compassion—to remember to take care of yourself.”
When Farmer found himself at MCSC, his years of combat stress hit, and they hit hard. He underwent multiple surgeries and treatments to repair a body that had not only served in theater, but also performed in sporting events ranging from mud runs to triathlons.
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