Twentynine Palms -- Lance corporal, squad leader, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment
Hometown: Bay City, Mich.
> I have been playing football for as long as I can remember. Football has always been a family tradition. All my brothers and cousins played growing up.
> My family has always been a busy one. Work and school took up most of our family time but we always came together on Sundays to watch a game and eat a great meal.
> If there are two things that I can say my family loves, its sports and a good meal. My mom loves to cook and the rest of us love to eat.
> I actually had a full ride through college through a football scholarship. It was difficult to get into some of the colleges because I struggled a little bit with my grades, and I was not tall enough to play on some of the teams.
> I finally got accepted to Central Michigan University and spent a year there. I was studying history and thought about becoming a teacher. I always thought that would be a good road for me.
> History is something I first started to enjoy because of my sister. She loves history and always has some little odd fact about something. I also enjoy it because an action that one person makes have an impact for years. Learning how one’s actions affects history is interesting for me and I like learning those facts.
> I ended up studying in college for a year before I decided that I wanted to try something different. I had a friend who was training to become a Navy SEAL and was really excited. At first I wanted to join the Navy and try and become an [explosive ordinance disposal technician].
> My friend ended up lending me the book, ‘American Sniper.’ While reading it Chris Kyle wrote that there was a 50/50 chance that you will meet a good person in the Army, but in the Marine Corps all the people were good. That is what made me want to be a Marine. I took it and ran with it.
> A friend of mine in [Infantry Training Battalion] said that I should be a mortarman, so we could stick together and help each other out. When I told the instructors that I wanted to be a mortarman, they told me that I was going to be a machine gunner. Turns out that was one of the best things that has happened to me in the Marine Corps.
> I love being a machine gunner. There is a lot learn but it’s simple once you know what to do. I have gone from the Marine carrying all the ammo, to the gunner, to the team leader. Now I’m a squad leader and am responsible for controling two of these three-man gunner teams.
> As of now, I’m not sure if I’ll stay in the Marine Corps, but either way the things I’ve done and the lessons I’ve learned will stick with me.