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Hale works as an archeologist aboard the Combat Center. He is also a reservist in the Air National Guard working as a historian. Hale has served in both active duty and in the reserves, with periods in the Marine Corps, Navy and Air National Guard.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Kasey Peacock

What I’ve learned: John Hale

22 May 2014 | Lance Cpl. Kasey Peacock

Hale works as an archeologist aboard the Combat Center. He is also a reservist in the Air National Guard working as a historian. Hale has served in both active duty and in the reserves, with periods in the Marine Corps, Navy and Air National Guard.

·Growing up, I was always fascinated with everything about the military. I originally intended to join the Navy, but in high school my mind set changed and I wanted more of a challenge.
In 1984, 10 days after I graduated high school, I was at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.

·I signed up open contract in combat arms, and ended up getting artillery meteorologist.

·The job ended up being a lot of fun for me. I had never done anything even remotely similar to that. I enjoyed it so much that after I got off active duty and joined the reserves, I remained in weather occupational specialties for 16 years.

·When I got off active duty, I began going to school at Eastern Michigan University. My bachelor’s is in English and after I received it, I soon began working as a technical writer.

·It was something that I was good at, but something I thought was incredibly boring. After a few years in the Marine Corps reserves, I transferred over to the Navy reserves, and continued working in weather.

·I spent four years in the Navy reserves with the same unit until it got deactivated. At that point I transferred again, this time to the Air National Guard. I was looking for something more exciting because I was bored out of my skull in my civilian job, so I joined the 107th Combat Weather Flight unit, which supported 12th Special Forces Group.

·It was great for me at the time. I got to participate in a lot more field work, which is what I was looking for. I also decided to quit my job and go back to school full time for my master’s degree in archeology.

·I went to Ball State University where our only famous alumni was David Letterman.

·I pursued Archeology because they accepted my bachelor’s degree in English into their program. They told me it was easier to turn a writer into an archeologist than it was to turn an archeologist into a writer.

·Upon completion of my degree, I became a historian in the Air Force and have been doing it ever since. Our job is to document the history involved with the unit.

·Being a historian and an archeologist is pretty overlapping. Each includes a lot of writing and each compliment my passion for history.

·I found my first job as an archeologist in Pittsburgh, PA. I attached to a new Air National Guard unit there, and volunteered for an overseas deployment. I ended up deploying to Saudi Arabia for about 4 months working as a historian.

·When I came back I began looking at other archeologist jobs across the U.S. I eventually applied for the position at the Combat Center, and was able to get it in June of 2003. I have been here ever sense.

·It was a natural transition for me coming back to a Marine base. I knew all the lingo and it worked out great for me.

·We have 2,200 recorded sites across MCAGCC that we have documented. It is our job to protect all of the natural resources on those sites, and make sure we are not damaging any history.

·The thing I learned early on in the military was find something you like to do, and stick with it. It was a long process for me to determine what I wanted to do with my life, but I decided to end up doing something I love. I’ll never get rich being an archeologist, but I will enjoy myself every day.

· I was so happy being in the field of archeology that I decided to pursue my PhD so that I could teach it. I have been working at Copper Mountain College and on base teaching both history and archeology.

·It is hard sometimes, maintaining two jobs and my commitment to the reserves. I look at it like I can sacrifice some personal time now, to get to where I want to be in the future.

·Eventually I would like to focus more on being a teacher, and one day do just that.

·When I came into the Marine Corps right out of high school, I think it was exactly what I needed. Because of that, I believe it is a great thing for young kids struggling with what they want to do.

·I see a lot of young Marines today and I see myself at that age. I see these Marines and sailors taking these college courses on top of their work commitments and I really admire that. It is special to me because I love to teach, and I hope I’m getting across to the Marines the importance of education and pursuing your dreams.



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