At first glance, Tim Davis was not an ideal candidate for the Marine Corps. Although he had wanted to join the Marines since grade school, Davis was unathletic, overweight and had a shoulder problem that would require surgery before he could qualify for service.

“I was a big nerd,” Davis laughed. “I was functionally fat in the Marine Corps.”

Davis was sworn into the Marines a week before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Over the course of a 15-year career in the Corps, he deployed nine times, engaged in anti-terrorism operations in Southeast Asia, and collaborated with military forces from around the world.

Today, Davis is working toward a doctorate in adult education and teaches ethics to the next generation of Marine Corps leaders. He’s also a minor internet celebrity, having appeared in a couple of Marine memes that went viral.

In this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Tim Davis talks about the life lessons he learned in the Corps, making the transition from Marine to civilian, how his experiences in the military helped him prepare for a career as a teacher, and the difference between teaching adults and children. He also discusses the benefits of studying jiu-jitsu and how it helps to heal both body and mind.

How does he do it? “Remain calm,” Davis said. “Find the humor in the situation.”

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By Stephen Hill is a writing intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He is a graduate student at West Virginia University studying Professional Writing and Editing.

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Published on Oct. 25, 2021

Estimated reading time is 1.5 min.

Views to date: 504


  1. Don M October 27, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    Jui jitsu has helped me get through PTSD, alcoholism, and a bad self image. I feel more confident and ready to take on the world at times. Of course I’m still scarred by some things from my past, but I view them differently now and face them with confidence. Leave it on the mat is a wonderful way to abandon the anger, fear, and unknown. Stay strong brother.

  2. Frank October 27, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    Marines are not soldiers. Army are considered soldiers. The term Marine and soldier are not used synonymously and is very offensive to Marines. A Marine is simply a Marine. Please adjust article as soon as possible. Thanks.

    • Charles G. October 29, 2021 at 7:11 pm

      Stereotypical Marine: hard head, thin skin. :) Love ya bro lol

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