The Sands of Time: One Marine's trip from the desert back to the Bronx

14 Apr 2004 | Cpl. Beth Zimmerman

Before September 11, 2001, former Marine Sgt. John Kaiser had no clue the Corps would re-enter his life-and in doing so, take him from Bronx, N.Y., to the Middle East and back.Now, the Marine sergeant has gone from serving his country in the desert to owning his own business in the Bronx.It all began with the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11. John Kaiser was working in Manhattan when the planes hit the World Trade Center. "I actually went downstairs and saw a girl crying her eyes out (while sitting) on the sidewalk," said Kaiser. "I'd seen people in other countries who lost their families -but I couldn't believe it was happening in my own country."The Bronx native had finished four years of active duty in the Marine Corps in 1996. Within a couple weeks of the attacks, he was back in the Marine Corps Reserves."The Corps has always been a part of my life," he added. "Even when I was off active duty, I felt like there was something missing," he said. "My need to get back into the Marine Corps and do the right thing outweighed all my personal needs."Kaiser ended up deploying to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Compared to the Bronx, Iraq was a whole new world. "I was born and raised in the Bronx," said 31-year-old Kaiser. "Even though it's still New York, everyone has their own way of doing things and they know each other.""In Iraq, you're more worried about making it to the next day than where you're getting your next cup of coffee."Kaiser returned to New York and decided to open his own computer business, "NYC Computing, Inc." It was not something he had originally planned on doing. "A year ago today, I would not have thought I would have ended up with my own business," Kaiser said. But when he returned from Iraq, circumstances dictated his route. His experience in the Corps also pushed him."Marines are over-achievers by nature," said Kaiser. "That's definitely helped me put this business together," he said. "All the responsibility lies on me, so it might end up hurting me if I make the wrong decision, but if I make the right one, it's that much more rewarding."Since the Corps has given Kaiser so much in the past, he wants to use his future to give back to the Corps. Right now, he has one year left to serve in the reserves. Beyond that, he wants to teach Marines. "I'd like to set up a computer learning center in the Bronx," said Kaiser. He'd like to teach transitioning Marines advanced computer techniques, former Marines basic computer skills, and more. Right now, Kaiser's only obstacle is finding the place and equipment to teach while balancing his new business."I've realized the Marine Corps family is huge, and everyone helps each other out in any way they can," he said. "I want to become part of (helping other Marines)."NYC Computing, Inc. is at 3044 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx. For more information, visit the website at, or call 718-892-2210.
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