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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

"Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command"

Twentynine Palms, California
What I’ve Learned: Melissa Culp

By Cpl. Dave Flores | Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms | June 1, 2017

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Twentynine Palms -- I grew up in a small town in New Jersey. The mascot of Delran [New Jersey] was the bear. The middle, junior high and high school all shared that same mascot. It was a smaller and quiet town.

My mother is from Mexico and my father was from Philadelphia, Penn. When they met my mother was accustomed to the American lifestyles, so there weren’t any cultural barriers.

My father was a salesman, so he was gone from home for periods of time. That’s where my mother taught me a lot about being independent. Her lessons helped me transition to live as a Marine wife.

My mother is my biggest role model in my life because of the values and lessons I learned from her. She taught me independence, to marry for love and adapt and overcome.

My father still has a huge impact in my life. He taught me things like work ethic and values to live by. I’d like to say I get my charisma from my salesman father as well.

I grew up with my father’s side of the family around a lot. From watching Philly sport’s teams like the Flyers or the Eagles to having a monthly dinner with them, the importance of a family was instilled in me from a young age.

I ran track and cross country in high school, always pushing myself to the limits of what I thought I could accomplish. I made it to state one year for the 800 meter dash. Although I didn’t place very high, I was impressed with myself that I had made it.

After graduating high school, I went to Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, which was one of the smaller state universities. I went to school for public affairs to have a life of working with people. I have been grateful to use it as a contractor within the Marine Corps.

Before I even went to college, I knew I wanted to work with the Department of Defense in some way, that way when I went home I felt like I contributed to something bigger than myself. Working with the G-5 has definitely reinforced my interest in this job field.

I’ve known my husband since pre-school. We used to ride the bus together since he lived only a few blocks away. We have been through a lot already together, from the awkward years of high school, college and now his life in the Corps. He’s definitely more than just my husband, he’s my best friend as well.

Even though I miss my family a lot, the Marine Corps has accepted my husband and I very well. From the people that we have met through his unit, 1st Tank Battalion, to the people I have met in the G-5, the Marine Corps just gives you the largest family that spans across the country, and even the world.

Having a job that works with the Marine Corps has given me perspective. Without it, I would have probably not left my home town.

The best part about the Combat Center has to be the community. Being out here, a bit away from everyone else, gives you an opportunity to connect with people on base. There’s a sense of the family spirit you find here.

My husband plans on making a career out of the Marine Corps, so I plan on making a career out of working public affairs or public relations with the Marine Corps.

Being outdoors is where I feel comfortable. In my free time, I like to take the time to explore the national park or just have a barbecue with my friends in the backyard.

Since my time out west is coming to a close, I’m glad that my husband and I took the time to travel along the west coast. It’s a place neither of us have lived before so it’s been amazing visiting cities like San Diego and Los Angeles.

One thing I’ve learned from living this lifestyle is to always have a positive attitude, be kind, and always be flexible and ready for change. I’m very glad that I have been able to be a part of the Marine Corps, through my contract and family.
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