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Lance Cpl. Kenneth Martin II, food service specialist, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, enjoys the work of musician Marilyn Manson and hopes to create music of his own someday. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo)

Photo by Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo

What I’ve Learned: Kenneth Martin II

10 May 2017 | Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Growing up it was just me and my sister. We were born only 14 months apart which made us really close.

I was born in Los Angeles, [Calif.] but we moved around a lot. I lived in Fort Worth, [Texas], California, and South Carolina before we finally settled in Austin, [Texas] when I was 12.

I come from a military background on my father’s side of the family. My dad was in the Navy, my aunt was a Marine, and my grandpa was in the Army. Growing up, military service wasn’t something that was necessarily engrained in me but I was always aware of it.

It was the summer before my senior year in high school and I got a phone call from a Marine Corps recruiter. At the time the recruiter called I wasn’t doing so well in high school and I had no plans to go to college. I found out later that my dad went on the website and filled out the application. Even though he was the one who provided my information, he wasn’t expecting me to join. My mom didn’t know what to say; she didn’t want me to leave her. We’re pretty close.

My favorite part about being in the Marine Corps is the friendship. It’s like living in the same neighborhood with everyone you go to high school with. You go to work with them, you go home and it’s like, “hey, they’re your neighbor”, so the friendship continues. Also just knowing that everyone is facing the same hardships as you helps to reinforce those bonds because you all have each other’s backs.

When I was younger, I was the kid who was just different from everyone else. I was rebellious from the stand-point of societal norms. I listened to a lot of music that wasn’t mainstream, like classic rock and hard rock.

One of my favorite artists is Marilyn Manson. He’s different and not afraid to let people know. His music is about expressing his opinion and basically just being yourself.

Music and the culinary arts interest me. I’d like to write music of my own someday. I used to write short stories. I liked being able to write whatever I wanted. I would mostly write fantasy; they kind of just popped into my head.

I think the hardest part of writing, for me, is the introduction because I want to draw people in, but once I get past that I’m on a role.

I’ve always liked cooking even before the Marine Corps. I enjoy the presentation of the dishes and learning how to make new things.

Always treat people with kindness. Whenever someone asks me for a favor, I think, “what if that person was God and he’s just hanging around asking for favors?” I always try to be kind to people, no matter who they are. If I was in need, I would want someone to help me, so I try to help others.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms