MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Shelton has experienced many different avenues throughout his time in the Marine Corps. He is a limited duty officer, who has been through the enlisted, warrant officer, and commissioned ranks, and uses his experience to inspire Marines.
It is funny because two months before I joined the Marine Corps, I didn’t know what a Marine was. The recruiter appealed to my higher calling, and I said this is something I could excel at.
I started out as a 2811, which is a telephone technician. I came in open contract, and ended up with 7th Communications Battalion in Okinawa, Japan as my first duty station.
My mother always instilled in me to do the best I could. I knew the transition from enlisted to warrant officer wasn’t going to be easy, but it was exactly what I wanted to be. The warrant officers I knew prior to transitioning were inspirations. They were leaders, they were fit, smart, savvy, which were a lot of the qualities I wanted to have.
I think people gravitate towards things they are good at. Being a Marine was one of those things for me, which drove me to want to continue on.
I was a 13 year staff sergeant when my package got approved. The first package I put in was denied, and I thought it was as complete as it could be. The second package I put it was while I was conducting humanitarian assistance in Thailand. It came back approved while I was attending Arabic school at the Defense Language Institute.
I remember it was special because I was a part of the last group of warrant officer selects who got to pin on in the fleet. The entire detachment was out there for the promotion, and it was special to me because you won’t see that again. Promotions to warrant officer now are only conducted in Quantico, V.I.
As a warrant officer who spoke Arabic, I endured countless adventures while I was deployed. It was definitely a rewarding experience. Things weren’t always great, a lot of good Marines I knew didn’t make it back, but it was an experience I will never forget.
I spent 5 years as a warrant officer before I decided to go the limited duty officer route. I was reminded of my mother’s words, which were to strive to do my best.
I wanted to do it because of the same reason I wanted to be a warrant officer. All of the LDO’s I had met were inspirational, and I wanted to be like them. The day I pinned on caption as an LDO was a momentous occasion I will never forget.
As an LDO the biggest transition was taking on more of an administration and command role. My first command as an LDO I had between 250-500 students under my charge. I was a transition that I fully embraced and enjoyed.
Being back here in the desert has been interesting, but I make the best of it. I have a few passions that fit the desert well.
I enjoy playing golf and riding motorcycles. Being out in the desert is like a golf haven. It can also be a great off-roading area for riding my bike.
I’m also the boy scouts scout master here on base, which is also one of my passions. Taking out the kids, getting them familiar with the area and building their professional development is a great opportunity.
My greatest advice to Marines is figure out what your target is, and do everything you can to pursue it. If you want to go through the top of the enlisted ranks, or transition to warrant officer, you need to have a plan and know what interests you. Once you find out what you want, figure out what you need to do to get there. Take it one step at a time.
I always ask Marines a question, ‘What is the opposite of success’. Usually Marines answer failure, and I respectfully tell them that is wrong. The opposite of success is quitting. Many people have tried and failed at many things, but they never quit. They never gave up. That is the mentality I try to instill into the Marines. Failure is a part of life, but quitting shouldn’t be.