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Cpl. Hannah Carlson, combat videographer, Headquarters Battalion, swims before work at the Training Tank, Sep. 3, 2015. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Connor Hancock)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Connor Hancock

What I’ve Learned: Cpl. Hannah Carlson

8 Sep 2015 | Lance Cpl. Connor Hancock 10th Marine Regiment

Combat videographer, Combat Camera

Kansas City, Missouri

Carlson has run track competitively for ten years and swimming for seven. She hopes to one day start a business in photography.

Growing up, I competed in cross country, track and swimming.

My dad inspired me to run track and he still holds his high school track record.

My goal in high school was to set my own track record in hurdles and compete in the Olympics.

I placed in the top 25 in the school district and made it to section finals.

I enjoyed running track because it helped me test my limits.

I got into swimming when one of my best friends convinced me to try a summer program with her. I competed in breast stroke, butterfly, backstroke, and relays.

I enjoy swimming because it gets your body using different muscles than the ones used for running or lifting. Now I lead the Marines I work with during our swim training.

I prefer playing individual sports, because you rely solely on your own training and not on teammates.

While I was studying in community college, I got an unexpected call from a Marine Corps recruiter. He told me I could become a photographer for the Marine Corps.

My recruiter talked about the way Marines are taught to behave. Simple characteristics for example: Marines never lie, cheat, or steal. The Marine Corps’ ideals are the same morals I was raised on and the more I learned about it, the more it seemed right for me.

I didn’t tell my parents I was considering joining the Marine Corps. Actually, I only told them four minutes before my recruiter got to my house.

We talked for two hours and my recruiter answered all of my parents’ questions. Afterward, my dad said it would be stupid not to join. My parents were very supportive.

At [military occupational specialty] school I became a videographer. At first I was disappointed, but I ended up liking videography more than photography.

I enjoy living in Twentynine Palms. I have family nearby and I’m lucky to be stationed in California.

I’ve always wanted to live in California. My goal is to study photography and make a career of it.

I plan on running a marathon next year, so I’m going to start training with my boyfriend in Bridgeport, California.

The Marine Corps has given me a lot of confidence, especially in communication. When I first arrived at the Combat Center, I was shy and nervous. Now, I’m comfortable helping clients with what they need.

When I get out of the Marine Corps, I want to start my own photography business. I’ve gained a lot of experience I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms