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Sherwood spent several years working on and building cars prior to joining the Marine Corps. From racing in classic sports cars to off-roading in trucks, his appreciation for automobiles remains strong.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

What I've Learned: Jerrod Sherwood

18 Oct 2013 | Lance Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

I started turning wrenches with my dad when I was able to pick one up.

He led me along the way as I grew up. In my teenage years, we would build hot rods in the garage and spend a lot of time racing.

I had my own little hot rod to run around in.

I am definitely a Chevy guy. I worked at a GM dealership and got skilled very well with them and Cadillac. I was transferred to work with Dodge, and discovered I do not like them.

I’m more into the classics. My absolute favorite car is the 1969 Super Sport Camaro. I helped my dad and grandpa build a couple of them back in the day. I hope to someday build one myself. Right now I have a 2-door 2008 Pontiac G-5 because it’s good on gas.

Driving from Miramar to Murietta in the past, you can’t have something too low on gas mileage.

The reason I went ordnance is because I’ve always had a liking for things that go boom.

I often get asked why I didn’t choose to be a motor transport operator, and it’s because I’ve always had time to build and drive. I now want to play with something a little dangerous.

Being new to Twentynine Palms, I can say that it’s different here.

The cars here are in way better condition than back home. You get the winter-time snow, salt, and sleet on the roads and it deteriorates the frame. I’m keeping my eyes open for a good classic to restore.

I would really like a truck because I spend a lot of time off-roading, doing four-wheel driving and trail-bogging. I want a truck almost as much as I want a classic hot rod. They both have their pros and cons.

I had a 1974 original full-top Convertible Blazer back in the day. I used to take it off-roading all the time and never once did it get stuck.

Eventually, I got a little too steep on a hillside incline and rolled it. The only things I salvaged were the motor and transmission, in hopes to build them back up and put it in a hot rod.

I watched my dad crash in front of the finish line during a race back in 1995. I was still in grade school.

He hit the wall at over 150 miles per hour, and was launched right over me. He landed about 20 yards away from me. He was seriously injured, but because of all of the safety equipment he wore he was able to walk away.

It was very dramatic at the age that I was. It scarred me in a good way and bad way. I’ll never forget it.

From that, I learned to always wear protective gear in a vehicle. Always.

It's a stern reminder that no matter what, safety goes first.

I built a 1997 T-top Trans-Am, and used to take it to the dragster on the weekends. As the driver, I broke 150 miles per hour in it.

As a passenger, I rode in a Camaro that my dad built, and we easily reached a speed of over 200 miles per hour.

My grandpa originally started this car tradition. He had two 1968 Camaros and a Super Sport.

My dad started his career off with mechanics, going to school for it and starting his own business for as many years as I can remember. He worked on cars all day and night if business called for it.

He had his race cars that he built, and on the weekends we would go racing. We traveled all across the East coast from Michigan to Florida.

It’s been in our family for a while, and I plan to continue it on and pass it on to my daughter someday.

I recommend that anyone interested in automobiles pursue it.

Even if I decide not to re-enlist, I would go right back to the dealership to continue working on cars.

Building that horsepower and taking something that the factory puts together, making it stronger and faster, and more powerful, is what makes it worthwhile. That speed and unbelievable adrenaline rush when you’re down the track, one the edge, is a feeling that once you get hold of, you crave more.

I miss it. Every time I go home I make sure to go to the track.

My dad had a very successful career as a racer. He's been nominated to go into the Mud Racing Hall of Fame.

I like to think that I can work to get there too, and be half as good as he was.

The way my dad raised me, it’s like a Sherwood trait as he put it, is “if you’re going to do something, do it right. Go big or go home.” My dad has told me those words many times.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms