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Twentynine Palms, California
Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center
Photo Information

Cpl. James B. Wilson, forward observer, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, grew up practicing multiple martial arts. He wrestled for 14 years and did jiu-jitsu for two years, and his biggest role model in life is his wrestling coach from his childhood. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Isaac Cantrell)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Isaac Cantrell

What I've Learned: James Bryant Wilson

12 Oct 2017 | Cpl. Dave Flores Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

> I was born and raised in East Dublin, Georgia. I lived there my whole life, until I joined the Marine Corps.

> I had a lot of friends growing up. We got into a little trouble every now and then, but other than that I wrestled for 14 years and did two years of jiu-jitsu.

> I was adopted as a child. My adopted mother is 74 years old, and my adopted father passed away when I was in the 7th grade. Between my real parents and my adopted parents, I have six sisters and two brothers.

> My grandfather and his brother both served in the armed forces during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. My grandfather was in the Army, and his brother was in the Navy.

> I originally planned on wrestling throughout college, but that didn’t end up working out. All of the on-campus housing filled up, so in order to go to school I would have had to work full time to pay for my apartment while also doing schoolwork and wrestling.

> Some of my friends joined the Marine Corps after high school. One day, one of those friends called me and told me to go talk to a recruiter and I figured, “why not?”

> I’ve been in the Marine Corps for over three and a half years now. The Corps has given me a sense of direction in my life. Before I joined, I had this ‘don’t care’ attitude and never had a job. Now that I’m in, I have a focus to better myself. The Marine Corps has opened my eyes to what the world really is.

> When I get out of the Marine Corps, I plan on going back home to live with my mom and help her take care of my little sister. While I’m doing that, I’m going to go to school to earn a nursing degree.

> If I hadn’t joined, I may have tried to go to college but I don’t know if that would have worked out. I could have ended up living at home, not doing much with my life.

> My advice for new Marines is to just do what you’re told. It may be rough at times, but just stick with it and eventually things will ease up. If you do that, your first enlistment will fly by.

> One of my role models is my wrestling coach from when I was growing up. He was always there for me and always had his life together. He’s a great man. Another role model is Goldberg from World Wrestling Entertainment.

> If I could go back to when I stepped on those yellow footprints I’d tell myself to just do whatever is necessary, whenever it’s necessary, to succeed. That’s how I’ve gotten this far.
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms