Twentynine Palms -- > I grew up in the outskirts of St. Louis in a town called Union. Living out in the middle of nowhere was simple. I spent my time playing sports and hunting and hiking out in the woods.
>I love football because of the physical contact. In high school I played tackle on offense and linebacker on defense. I like the competiveness and the brotherhood that comes along with it. Making a play and celebrating with your teammates is motivating. One of my friends from the team joined the Marine Corps as well and we still keep in contact.
>My Marlin 30-06 rifle is my go-to hunting firearm. I also own a variety of pistols, shotguns, and semi-automatic rifles. I enjoy hunting anything that’s in season, usually turkey or deer. If it’s big, I want to hunt it.
>My goal is to travel to hunt grizzly bear, Moose, elk or caribou. I’ll eventually go on a safari to take down a Jaguar or a Lion. When I hunt, every part of the animal is eaten or used, there’s nothing that goes to waste.
>My uncle taught me a lot of fundamentals and the Marine Corps helped expand my shooting knowledge. My favorite guns to play with are the M240 and the .50 caliber [Browning M2].
>Being a gunner is the best job in the Marine Corps. My job is to rein hell on whatever that target is. When you do it all the time, you get really good.
>I come from a military family. My great grandpa was a pilot during World War II and my grandfather was a tank mechanic during the Vietnam War. My father was a mortarman in the Marine Corps and my cousin is an anti-tank missleman.
>As a citizen, I felt it was my duty to join. I just wanted to do my part and answer the call.
>I have a lot of pride being in 1/7 because of our history and great traditions. Some of our legends include Chesty Puller, Johnny B. [Basilone], and Chaos [Gen. Mattis].
>The everyday training we get is the best in the Marine Corps- it’s world class. There are some great training areas here.
>Getting to train with foreign military was one of the highlights of my career. I’ve been to Jordan Twice, and the embassy in Baghdad. I made some good friends, and it was pretty cool getting to teach other people my job. Patience is vital when you’re communicating through translators. It was rewarding to see other service members improve their gunnery.
>It’s important to have a good relationship with other countries because we get to see and learn from each other first hand. It builds strength and prepares us if we have to work together in the future.
>I’m going to miss jumping out of helicopters. I’ll never get a chance to do that again.
>I’m ready for the transition because the corps has taught me how to be patient and helped develop my leadership style.
>My girlfriend and I want to settle down in Missouri and get some off-roading toys. I’m a simple guy. I just want to travel the world and live the American dream.