Thread: "Average Joe"
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Old 04-29-2003, 02:43 PM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Cool "Average Joe"

Sgt. Jeffrey C. Marston
By Lance Cpl. Shawn M. Toussaint, USMC
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT, San Diego, Calif. ? Drill instructor, husband, father and "average Joe" are all words used to describe Sgt. Jeffrey C. Marston, senior drill instructor, platoon 2047, Company F, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.

Marston, in his own eyes, may be an average guy. But to his former drill instructor and current series gunnery sergeant, he's much more than that.

"Sgt. Marston is an outstanding drill instructor," said Staff Sgt. Ralph S. Lucero, series chief drill instructor, Company F. "When I trained him as a recruit, he was an average recruit. I remembered him, but nothing really stuck out about him. As an instructor, he is a leader among leaders. He sticks out head and shoulders."

Marston claims he was "not much of a person" in high school. With average grades and few prospects to attend college, the Oregon native decided to join the Corps straight out of Medford High School in July, 1996.

After graduating from the School of Infantry, Marston reported to Hawaii for his first duty assignment. While in Hawaii, Marston met his current wife, Christina, to whom he has been married for three years now. Christina is a Key Volunteer with Company F and was described by her husband as being his best friend.

"She is very understanding," said Marston. "She respects and understands that I have responsibilities to the Corps ? something I believe in. I know that my job being a Marine is very time demanding, but she never complains and is very supportive of my career."

The couple learned soon after their marriage that it would take a lot of love and understanding to keep the relationship growing. One week after they exchanged wedding vows, then Lance Cpl. Marston went on a seven-month deployment to Okinawa, Japan.

"The hardest part about being on deployment is being away from family," said Marston. "You also miss the little things that make home 'home', like buying American products and being around American things."

While on deployment in Okinawa, Marston was promoted to corporal and requested orders to attend what some Marines believe to be one of the Marine Corps' premiere leadership schools, Drill Instructor School at MCRD San Diego, as part of his re-enlistment package.

Soon after graduating from Drill Instructor School in June 2000, he picked up with his first platoon at the very beginning of the cycle. The team consisted of three entirely new drill instructors and a first-time senior drill instructor.

"I learned real fast during that first cycle," said the soft-spoken Marine.

Now in his sixth cycle, Marston serves as a senior drill instructor, which is not an ordinary billet for a sergeant to hold on the drill field, according to Lucero.

Marston explained his role as a senior drill instructor.

"My role is different from the drill instructors," said Marston. " As the senior, they (recruits) see me as somebody who's able to take care of problems they may have. A lot of them probably see me as 'dad,' which is funny since I am younger than a lot of them. I also serve as a mentor for the drill instructors. I try to teach them a little every day. That's more my job than actually training recruits ? training drill instructors."

Marston, being junior in age and rank to many of the Marines he works with, understands that he must rely on professionalism and respect when it comes to mentoring or even correcting other drill instructors.

"Most of the Marines on the drill field who are senior to me in rank understand and recognize my experience on the drill field," said Marston. "I always strive to be tactful and maintain mutual respect throughout the company. Mutual respect is essential for the company to run smoothly. I think we have that."

One of Marston's favorite things about being a drill instructor is the competitiveness of it. He compared it to an Olympic sprinter whose race is the 100-meter dash. This is Marston's race: at the end of it is graduation.

"For some it's just a piece of paper," said Marston. "For me, I can look back (at the graduated Marine) and see that I've done a good job. There are very few jobs that give you the opportunity to change people's character.

"We teach some skills, but more than that we teach character traits like discipline and morality."

When Marston is not training recruits, he is probably playing with his baby girl, May, watching a movie or attending church, something he believes has made the difference in his life.

"In this job you have to make a lot of decisions with little guidance," said Marston. "It's easy to shoot from the hip and make bad decisions. Through church, I have learned a lot about the value of work, responsibility about being a good parent and husband. Lots of good values are taught through the church."

Perhaps those values make an "average guy" like Marston not so average after all


SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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