Twentynine Palms -- > Growing up in Detroit was not as bad as most people think. I had to deal with a lot of odd jobs such as landscaping and helping my dad work on cars to help my family meet ends. I played football and baseball in my free time.
> My dad was really hard on me growing up, just because of how he was raised. He wanted to make sure I understood what it took to provide for and maintain a household.
> My favorite memory with my dad was fishing. Once a month, we’d go fishing with my grandfather’s old fishing poles that he handmade.
> My first thought of joining the Marine Corps came to me because there was no way my family and I could pay for a college education. At the time, I thought the infantry environment in the Marine Corps would be the most intense.
> I don’t regret anything. I love my job, and I love all the people who I’ve gone through some hard times with.
> If I could go back and give advice to the nervous kid on those yellow footprints, I’d tell myself to “Never by lazy; always try harder.”
> My first deployment was to Iraq. I was with one of three platoons in Golf Company, [2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment,] in 2014. We were the first ones there to rebuild anything in Iraq after the war.
> On the first deployment there was a feeling of helplessness, and that was the last time I ever want to feel that. The main thing we really took away from that deployment was the pride in knowing we were legit and able to help the Iraqis.
> While in Iraq, I was only able to speak to my wife twice and I missed my son, Landon’s, birth. I knew he was there, and I knew I was going to be a father, but it didn’t really hit me until my wife came running to me with him in her arms.
> It was a really amazing feeling being able to hold my son for the first time. I realized then that I wanted to be the best father I possibly could be. By the time I deployed again, I had only spent four months with him due to the workups. Everyone else in my family had spent more time with my son than me, by the time he was over a year old.
> For my second deployment to Iraq, we went to the embassy and that was a lot better. We stood guard over the embassy and I was able to Face Time my wife and son a lot.
> Right now I’m with the Tax Center on the [Fleet Assistance Program.] I help Marines with their taxes. I’m really thankful for this duty because I can spend more time with my family and on myself.
> After the Marine Corps, I’m going to become a police officer and work on a criminal justice degree. I thought about what I’m good at and what it takes to provide for a family. I feel like transitioning from being an infantryman to becoming a police officer is a smooth transition.
> I live everyday as if my son is always watching me. I ask myself if I am setting a good example. Am I worthy of being his dad and my wife’s husband?
> I want to do everything I can to be the man that I have chosen to be in life. Everyone chooses where they are at every point throughout their life. Right now, I’m a dad and a husband and because of that I have certain responsibilities. Everything I try to do is to be a good example for my son. Nothing is more important than that.