I was a Navy brat growing up in a number of Naval Stations in the Pacific: NAS Agana, Guam; Pearl Harbor NB, Hawaii; and NAS Sangley Point, Philippines. I always thought that I would join the Navy and be like my Dad, who was a Senior Chief (DKCS), but as I grew older, I started noticing that this other service was also on our bases. They wore different uniforms (khaki/trops/sateens) and carried themselves more professionally than Sailors, turns out they were Marines. I was also into reading history books at the time and read more and more about these Marines and determined that I just had to become one of them too. This really pissed off my Dad! Even though I was the son of a career Navy man, the Marine Corps mystique fascinated me. I always knew the Marines were different, better than Sailors. When I told my Dad that I wanted to be a Marine, he laughed and said I lacked the self-discipline it took to be a Marine. “You won’t last in the Marines. YOU? You can’t even hold on to a job, and you’ll get busted!” he often told me. As a teenager, I was wild, on the loose, vandalizing, and stealing (luckily, I was too crafty to be caught, which came in handy later in my career as a Recon Marine). I ditched school to surf and couldn’t hold onto any jobs. My life was spiraling down in an unhealthy direction. I was a long-haired surf bum who hung out at the beach, and although I was an Honors Student, I hated high school, stuff like that. I wasn’t into drugs or anything like that, but it would have only been a matter of time before something like that would have come along.
I come from a military family on both sides-mom & dad. Uncles that served in the Navy [Korea], Army [Vietnam]; 3 cousins in the Navy [Cold War], Army Nat’l Guard [Cold War], Army [GWOT]. My God-Mothers son is a Marine Veteran [Vietnam era], and my dad went to Army boot camp but got seriously injured; he couldn’t finish. In high school, I joined the Marine J.R.O.T.C. Program. For me, it was a natural thing to do. I actually joined USMC at age 9. I believed it was my destiny-to serve in the military of the greatest country on the face of the earth!
By the time I reached the 5th grade and into the 6th grade, I had read World Book Encyclopedia from AZ (with the help of Mr. James Hickey, my 5th-grade teacher), who taught us to do something we’d never done before, and I did!