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Lance Cpl. Christopher R. Johnson, food service specialist, Marine Wing Support Squadron-374, native of Clearwater, Fla., wrestled throughout high school and enjoys cooking and fishing, which he learned from his uncle.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo

What I've Learned: Christopher R. Johnson

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

I like to cook during my off hours. I also like to go fishing and I enjoy reading.

I got into fishing when I was six. My uncle took me and a couple of my cousins up to a little pond and taught us. I’ve liked it ever since. I like the process of fishing. I like rigging up the poles with bait and casting the line. It’s not about catching anything, sometimes it’s just nice to sit there, relax in the sun and have a conversation.

I wrestled all through high school, I played football at first, and one of my football coaches was also the head wrestling coach. He let me know that if I was looking to commit myself to something and work hard, that I should try it.

I liked the camaraderie that we had on the team. I liked working hard, and being recognized for my hard work. By the end of my senior year, I was ranked second in the state of Florida for my weight class.

My uncle was a big influence in my life. He was very strict, and discipline was a big thing, but it was always out of love. Part of what influenced me the most was how humble he was and how he handled himself. Whether it was business or personal, his expectations of me were very high and one thing he always told me was ‘I never want to hear the word can’t.’

I’ve been in the Marine Corps for almost three years now, I joined after my uncle passed away. One of the things he wanted me to do was join the military, because he figured it would be the best thing for me to do.

I have a little brother, an older sister and a lot of cousins on both my dad and mom’s side. We grew up together as a close family.
My upbringing was all about respect, discipline and courtesy, so that helped with my adjustment to the Marine Corps. I didn’t go directly in to the Marine Corps after high school, because I wasn’t sure what path I wanted to take. The transition to military life was tough at first, but eventually I learned how to be less hard headed and do what was expected of me.

If you’re going to join the Marine Corps and you’re not entirely sure if you want to make it a career, the best thing you can do is get a job that you can use in the civilian world. Cooking is one of those jobs that never goes out of style. No matter where you go, someone’s always going to need to eat.

One thing I admire is the Marine’s ability to make something out of nothing. When our bosses tell us we need something done today, we come through almost every time. That’s an amazing thing for us to accomplish and I’m definitely going to take that with me in whatever I chose to pursue.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms