Why the Marine Corps?

By First Lieutenant Chosnel Raymond ’17, USMC

When I initially joined the Navy it was to, and I quote, “see a side of the world that very few people get to see.”

As time passed that all began to change. That desire, tempered with time and experience, changed … and in a different direction. Now I looked inward: “to see a side of myself that I’ve never seen.”

As an enlisted sailor, swinging with the wing on a Marine Corps Base, I got firsthand exposure to the life of a Marine.

Did I mention that I was stationed in Beaufort, SC, the eastbound birthplace of the Marines? It was here that I got the notion of “Marines Always.” More time passed and I was blessed to have had a mostly Marine chain of command at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, RI. Although in garrison, they demonstrated something I felt but could put no words to at the time: the importance of a unity of effort. From there I encountered the many trials and tribulations of the Naval Academy. In my darkest times Marines, civilians who loved Marines, SEALs who appreciated Marines and chaplains who-would-never- admit, loved Marines (the most) all reminded me of the most important part of any struggle—the nature of one’s character.

With that comes the reason I became a Marine; to join an organization whose spirit and core values are based on one thing: character. Most Marines say “I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted a challenge.” I’d argue that you joined for something deeper, much deeper. I’d argue that you joined to see who you are in the face of challenges.

Give me an organization whose initial indoctrination aims to break you down physically in order to expose raw character and you’ve given me an organization that places more value on the people than the systems they operate. If it wasn’t clear before, I joined the Marine Corps because I aggressively seek to be a part of organization whose selection process is fundamentally character based. Namely, a selection process whose intent, in its infant stages, seek to expose character in order to stress and force to react, while exposed … SIGN ME UP FOR THAT! Semper Fidelis.

First Lieutenant Chosnel Raymond ’17, USMC, enlisted in the Navy and served almost four years as an aviation electronic technician. He spent a year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School before attending the Academy, is president of his class and is stationed in Okinawa, Japan.