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Jaoani McNair, legal service specialist, base legal, Headquarters Battalion was a child actor for one year when he was 11 years old. McNair acted on the T.V. show 30 Rock, as well as in the movie Freakanomics. (Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Margaret Gale)

Photo by Pfc. Margaret Gale

What I've Learned: Jaoani McNair

7 Sep 2017 | Pfc. Margaret Gale Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

>Home to me is West Orange New Jersey with my four siblings and grandfather.

> I grew up sleeping with all four of us in one bed. As we grew older we got bunk beds and when I reached high school we were able to get our own beds.

>I moved around a lot with my mother. All the neighborhoods we moved to were never good ones. I was always surrounded by violence. Because the towns were never good, I always went to a school in a different town than the one I lived in.

>My dad was never a part of my life. In middle school he tried get in touch with me and my siblings. Seeing him didn’t affect me. I grew up not knowing him so he was just another man to me who was trying to buy me back.

> When I was a sophomore I moved to Georgia and attended three different high schools. At this point education and friends didn’t mean too much to me because I knew I was just going to move again.

>I went to a high school called Meadow Creek High School, everyone called it “Ghetto Creek.” That was the worst school I attended. I witnessed the other students stealing, beating the teachers and fighting.

> My mom was a nurse during my childhood years, but once we moved back to West Orange she decided she wanted to be a police officer.

>She was a police officer in one of the worst towns in New Jersey, East Orange. It is a dangerous neighborhood but I knew she would be able to hold her own because she had good aim with a gun.

>All my siblings are in different branches of the military. After my older sister joined the Army my mom realized how beneficial the military is and wanted all her children to enlist.

>During my junior year of high school I had really bad conduct and fought with two of my teachers. At the same time, my older brother was a poolee for the Marines his senior year. After my second fight happened my mother made me put my energy towards something more constructive, working out with the Marines. So, reluctantly I went.

>Physical training was easy for me. I was always strong in running and staying fit.

>The day after I graduated high school I went to MEPS and was given a ship date. That summer my older brother came home from boot camp and told me it was easy, trying to convince me to go to boot camp.

>My role model growing up is my favorite rapper, L’A Capone. I looked up to him because his music was very relatable to my life. I also enjoyed how he was young and close to my age. He went through a lot of things I did but also knew his goal in life was to help the people close to him obtain a better life.

>A quote I live by is, “separate myself” by L’A Capone. At the end of the day, no matter who you surround yourself with, you have to separate yourself. Not everyone wants the best for you despite what you think. Someone will always have a price for a relationship.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms