Monday, July 15, 2024

FAST FIVE: Damon Darakjy: A hero for veterans at the Cd'A American Legion

Staff Writer | November 11, 2023 1:00 AM

Meet Damon Darakjy, commander of the Coeur d'Alene American Legion Post 14.

1) What motivated you to enter the armed forces, and what did you enjoy/what was most interesting about working in military intelligence?

I joined the United States Marine Corps Reserves in 1991 after completing two years at North Idaho College. I was inspired to join the Marine Corps because I was very active in high school sports and I wanted a physical challenge. I ran cross country and track at NIC. Basically, the Marine Corps commercials just got me! However, later in my career, I would transfer over to the Army, eventually retiring out of the United States Army as a chief warrant officer 4. I stuck with joining in USMC Reserves so I could finish out my degree at the University of Idaho, which I did in 1995. I spent a few years in the Army National Guard in both Idaho and Washington after completing my obligation to the Marine Corps Reserves in the year of 2000 and I attended the counterintelligence special agent course at Fort Huachuca , Ariz. I am forever blessed to be part of our military intelligence community because of the diversity within its ranks. A blend of all religions, sexual orientations, genders, ethnicities,  a truly rewarding career in military intelligence. I had to learn different cultures and languages. It was very mentally stimulating! 

2) What Coeur d'Alene American Legion Post 14 news or upcoming events can you share with us?

Right now the Coeur d'Alene American Legion is focused on our Veterans Day ceremony and also recruiting for Boys State and Girls State. If you know of a junior in high school who would like to learn more about our United States government and become a leader, please look into Boys State and Girls State. The American Legion would gladly host you and pay your way for a week in Boise.

3) What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Veterans Day to me means simply honoring all those who have served! And a "thank you" to all who have served in the most diverse organization, the Department of Defense, I think our nation has seen!

4) What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

What many people don't know about me is that I met my wife at a Marine Corps Ball in Spokane, Jennifer Jaeger Darakjy. I was working at The Coeur d'Alene Resort as a valet parker and the spa manager set us up on a blind date for the Marine Corps Ball in 1992. We were married in 1993. We have been married for 30 years now. She is my biggest supporter! She raised our kids through six deployments!

5) How can we as civilians be better at showing appreciation to those who have served or are actively serving our country?

It's very easy — in today's age the social media, a simple post supporting our military honor veterans is all that is needed. Also, sending care packages to our soldiers is a great way to support them. One thing I would like to add is an open invitation to any veteran in the North Idaho area to join our American Legion in Coeur d’Alene. The only requirement is that you have an honorable discharge and have spent one day of active duty, so pretty much most every veteran is eligible. I would like to make a plea to all the Afghanistan and Iraq veterans — like me — that we need your membership. You’re very important. And especially female veterans. These veteran service organizations like the American Legion are being dominated and carried by the Vietnam and Korea generation. Us young folks need to step it up. 

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Contact Damon for an American Legion membership application at The Coeur d'Alene American Legion is at 2215 N. Seventh St.