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Lance Cpl. De'Arius Miller, administrative specialist, IPAC, native of Cincinnati, Ohio, developed his love of animals from watching his father. During his time in the Zoo Academy program he got the opportunity to work with exotic animals. If he doesn’t re-enlist, he hopes to be able to continue working with animals. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo

What I've Learned: De'Arius Miller

12 Jan 2015 | Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

I work in IPAC and we handle administrative work for the whole base.

I’m in the promotion section. I’m responsible for ensuring that all the Marine’s training is up to date.

I moved around a lot as a kid. I went to about 10 different schools before I got to high school.

I didn’t always like moving somewhere new, because you’d have to leave some of your closest friends and start over.

I learned how to adapt easily. Moving around a lot, you have to make friends, you have to meet new people and do new things. Having that type of upbringing made me open to change and starting over for me isn’t as hard as it is on some people.

I went to Hughes Science Technology Engineering and Math high school. I attended for the STEM program and I wanted to eventually become enrolled in the Zoo Academy program.

I got accepted into the program my junior year.

I always had fun when I was there. Working with the animals was awesome and I liked being able to deal with them, interact with them and handle them.

I got to work with a large variety of animals. There were different types of snakes and birds. I got to work with cheetahs, weasels, snow leopards, manatees, bonobos, gorillas, lemurs. I really enjoyed the overall experience of the Zoo Academy.

I wrestled all the time, from the age of six. So when I got older, my mom suggested that I try joining the team.

I joined, and was on the wrestling team all throughout high school.

I got the title of MVP and most aggressive. I wrestled between 103-112 lbs. freshman year. Sophomore year I wrestled between 112- 120 lbs. and senior year I wrestled 138 lbs.

I liked the competitiveness of wrestling.

One of my favorite subjects in high school was history. I earned student of the year when I was a sophomore because I got the highest score on the state exam and straight A’s.

I enjoyed studying history because there’s a pattern to it. If you study it long enough you’ll realize that a lot of the major events are very similar to one another. I think those things are important to know.

I was a junior in high school when I realized I wanted to join the military.

Originally, I was going to join the Air Force. My mom took me down to the recruiting station near our house and there was a recruiting station for every branch, but the Air Force. So we walked into the Marine Corps recruiting station.

The recruiter told me that the Marines have more heritage, more traditions and I liked the idea of becoming a part of that.

I like knowing about stuff that pertains to me in regards to promotions and my cutting score. I know what I need to do to further myself as a Marine.

What I like about the Marine Corps is you really can meet some of your closest friends, especially in basic training. People go through the same struggle you do and they can relate.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms