The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE student talks about his life in private military

By Karen Gavis/se news editor

Four times. That is all he has been shot.

But he has been cut and stabbed so often he cannot recall the exact number of times. Now, the SE philosophy student says he plays golf and the hand he has dealt himself the best he can.

Marc Sellers was a hired gun. Trained at a special military camp in Spain, he worked 16 years for a private military organization. He was a long-range sniper involved in hostage rescue missions.

“I went in, and I saved lives,” he said. “Somebody has got to fight the bad guys.”

Sellers said the job required a team of specialists. He did not work alone, and every mission was different.

“We were a superior fighting force,” he said.

Sellers said he only did things he thought were right and followed a moral code of ethics.

“You could get paid a lot more if you are willing to throw away your ethics,” he said.

Sellers said he was paid a percentage of the demanded ransom per project. He would go in via horseback, helicopter, parachute or foot. If he was able to make it back across the border, help was available. If not, he was on his own.

He went where the military could not go, he said. That way, if he got caught, it wasn’t the United States that was involved, he said. It was just some crazy American.

“You wound everyone involved, kill as many as you can and leave three or four to interrogate,” he said.

Sometimes, he discovered more hostages being held.

“You can’t take one and leave the others,” he said. “That would be unethical.”

The job paid very well, but Sellers said it is not a job he would accept again because he no longer feels he has the authority to decide whether someone lives or dies unless it is in direct defense of someone’s life.

“I’ve made enough money,” he said. “I don’t have to do it anymore.”

Sellers is not ashamed or regretful of the past. But it is not something he wishes to repeat. He said it was fun while he was doing it. However, he did not enjoy the aftermath.

“You pull the trigger, the guy falls down and he is no longer a person,” he said. “Dealing with it afterward is not an easy thing. There’s a lot of guilt in it.”

Sellers said a target never knows what is coming and is dead before the sound of the shot is heard.

“There is no bravery in taking a sniper shot,” he said. “There is no heroism in being a sniper. It is a job.”

Sellers said he tries to be a nice guy, but a few years ago, he was pretty messed up. He reached a point he could not cope mentally. And alcohol helped.

“It was my way of dealing with it,” he said.

As a result, he is now in a 12-step recovery program. He also spent three months in Tibet, where he learned how to meditate and look at things differently. This enables him to cope without the use of alcohol, he said.

At times, it is not easy. In a restaurant, Sellers does not sit with his back to the door. He has a fund set aside in case someone comes after him and he has to leave.

“As far as I know, there’s no one left alive that has a grudge against me,” he said.

Sellers said the war on terrorism will not be won with an army but with small fighting forces and intelligence. To beat the enemy, one has to think like the enemy. Sellers is not sure winning the war on terrorism is worth giving up American principles.

“If they kill a doctor, you blow up a hospital,” he said. “But in doing so, you give up the very soul of who you are to begin with.”

Sellers made it clear he is not a veteran.

They are the true heroes, he said.

“Those guys get paid crap,” he said. “It is pathetic the way the government treats those guys.”

Army major and South Campus psychology professor Charles Overstreet said those working for private military organizations get paid a huge amount of money for doing a similar job.

However, they do not have the same benefits and support as the U.S. military.

“They do not have the Veterans Administration,” he said. “We can retire medically. They can’t.”

Besides playing golf, Sellers currently studies electrical engineering, physics and philosophy on SE Campus, where he clicks with his philosophy instructor Marc Austin.

“After class, we’ll talk for an hour or so,” he said.

Austin said Sellers is a fun and competent student with an interesting past who knows an amazing number of facts and has a sponge of a brain. Austin said Sellers does not just listen but thinks things through.

“You can tell that he is a very intelligent man,” he said.

The two will talk about guns with Austin being more like a novice and Sellers the expert.

Austin said students do not usually talk to their instructors about guns and bullets.

“I have never felt intimidated or threatened by him at all,” he said.

SE student Matt Lundy said he shared an English class with Sellers. The two were rebuilding their lives during that time with Sellers recovering from a stroke brought on by alcoholism and Lundy recovering from a car crash because of a drunken driver.

“We were both trying to push our lives to the limit,” he said. “We are friends.”

For Sellers, the hardest part of his old job was not being able to talk about it.

He would go on a mission, then come back and have to act like he had been in Kansas or somewhere.

He said shooting people became old hat and was not a big deal anymore.

Even though he’s trying to readjust to life as a civilian, the normal life he desired at times seems too normal.

“It gets to the point you can’t turn it [the job] off,” he said. “In some ways, you start to miss it. You miss the adrenaline rush.”

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