Mark Dodge

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Mark Dodge (born December 31, 1980) is a former member of the United States Army and college football player at Texas A&M University. Dodge is most famous for his military involvement following the September 11th Attacks on the Pentagon building.

Early life[edit]

Mark Dodge was born on December 31, 1980 in Yerington, Nevada. At the age of two, Dodge’s parents Howard and Toni divorced and Dodge began living with his mother, resulting in an estranged relationship with his father. At an early age, Dodge’s life became centered around working on the family ranch in Yerington.[1] While attending Yerington High School, Dodge became an all-state receiver, but ultimately made the decision to join the United States Army when he wasn’t offered a single scholarship to play football.[2]

Military career[edit]

While serving in the Army from April 2000-January 2004, Dodge served in the U.S Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as “The Old Guard”, a Presidential honor guard that served at both military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery and at visits to the nation’s capital by foreign leaders. On the morning of September 11th, 2001, Dodge was at the Pentagon filing paperwork that would allow him White House security clearance. As he watched news coverage of the unfolding attacks on the World Trade Center, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west wall of the Pentagon building. Following the crash, Dodge and his fellow Old Guard members, stationed at the nearby Fort Myer, were mobilized and sent to the crash site. Initially, Dodge was instructed to set up tents for survivors. Once the fires were extinguished, Dodge along with fellow soldiers, were then sent into the wreckage to search for the bodies and remains of victims, which were then accounted for and collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In the following weeks, the Old Guard continued searching for victims during the day, and patrolled the capital at night.[3]

College Football Career[edit]

Following the September 11th attacks, as well as his own experiences at the pentagon, Dodge suffered from emotional trauma. “I broke down, cried for a while, just thinking of everything I had saw, everything I had did, and cried for the families and cried for my family. It was hard,” Dodge said in 2006.[4] This ultimately led to his decision to not further his military career. Instead, Dodge planned on attending college with the intention of playing football at the collegiate level as well as making an attempt to reconcile with his father. "We both kind of realized we have one life together,” Dodge said in a 2006 interview. “"I admire him so much, because his dad has hurt him tremendously," Dodge’s mother, Toni Inserra, said.”Mark's ability to forgive is amazing." In the fall of 2004, at the age of 23, after achieving the rank of Sergeant and reconciling with his father, Dodge enrolled at Feather River Junior College in Quincy, California.[5] Quickly, Dodge’s performance at inside linebacker gained him national attention from Division-1 programs offering him athletic scholarships. After two seasons at Feather River, Dodge chose Texas A&M, citing its ROTC military tradition as the deciding factor in his decision.[6] After earning his Associated of Arts in Liberal Studies from Feather River Junior College,[7] Dodge enrolled at Texas A&M in January 2006.[8]

Over the course of spring practices, Dodge achieved the starting role at inside linebacker and retained it throughout the following summer. Although he did not start the season opener, the result of a debilitating ankle injury, on September 2, 2006, at the age of 25, Dodge played in his first Division-1 football game at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field against The Citadel. On his first play, Dodge recorded a tackle for a loss. He would go on to finish with seven tackles and was credited with an assist on a forced fumble in a 35-3 victory. Dodge’s story gained national attention when in September 2006, ESPN’s “College Game Day” featured a segment in which Dodge was interviewed about his experiences during the September 11th Attacks, as well his experience with college football. “You see stuff like that and it gives you a whole new thought on life; you never know when it can end, you got to take every day as it is. Enjoy every day. I mean, I go out to practice now and love it at practice for every practice because I know I could be doing something a whole lot worse,” Dodge said.[9] Dodge went on to play for two seasons at Texas A&M in 2006 and 2007. As a junior, Dodge tied for the leading number of interceptions for A&M with two.[10] As a senior, he recorded one hundred and seventeen total tackles. He ended his career in 2007, finishing with one hundred and sixty-eight total tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.[11] He went on to graduate from Texas A&M in 2007 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Agricultural Business and Leadership.[12]

Life after football[edit]

Since 2008, Dodge has worked for two industrial corporations in Dallas and San Antonio, Texas as a plant manager, director of operations and in execution planning management.[13] On May 2, 2011, following the killing of Osama Bin Ladin, Dodge was asked in an interview how, following the announcement of Bin Ladin's killing, his experiences at the Pentagon had resurfaced in his thoughts: "[Sunday] night, after they announced that he had been killed, I thought back to burying all of the people that he actually killed. Younger people and families… it wasn’t just military. It’s a big difference from when you’re at War and it’s a soldier that gets killed. With all of these families and civilians that got killed and with planes flying into the World Trade Center… you look at that stuff and it blows your mind that someone would feel that way against another human being, no matter the circumstances. I looked back at that stuff and I laid there for hours thinking about where I was [on September 11, 2001] and how it’s changed. It was really cool. I think that the most emotional part of it was that for a little bit, you saw all of the people of United States – Democrat, Republican and no matter the race or the status – everybody came together and it was all for the one cause. That happened after [September 11]… the nation came together for months. It’s unfortunate that things can’t remain like that and that people aren’t able to work with each other.”[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Forde, Pat, September 11, 2006, Aggies’ Dodge Can’t Walk Away from 9/11, http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=2580781
  2. ^ ESPN “College Game Day” Interview, air date September 9, 2006, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PniW0xnKNg
  3. ^ Forde, Pat, September 11, 2006, Aggies’ Dodge Can’t Walk Away from 9/11, http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=2580781
  4. ^ ESPN “College Game Day” Interview, air date September 9, 2006, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PniW0xnKNg
  5. ^ Forde, Pat, September 11, 2006, Aggies’ Dodge Can’t Walk Away from 9/11, http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=2580781
  6. ^ ESPN “College Game Day” Interview, air date September 9, 2006, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PniW0xnKNg
  7. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mark-dodge/26/474/63a
  8. ^ ESPN “College Game Day” Interview, air date September 9, 2006, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PniW0xnKNg
  9. ^ ESPN “College Game Day” Interview, air date September 9, 2006, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PniW0xnKNg
  10. ^ http://www.scout.com/2/642004.html
  11. ^ http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/mark-dodge-1.html
  12. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mark-dodge/26/474/63a
  13. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mark-dodge/26/474/63a
  14. ^ Bock, Gabe, May 2, 2011, Mark Dodge Shares Thoughts on Bin Ladin Death, http://v4.texags.com/Stories/2057