News: Peace Corps to Marine Corps: The Legacy Continues
Story by Lance Cpl. Keenan Zelazoski
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Corporal Antoine Diop comes from an international lineage with members who have served in several prestigious organizations. In August, 2010, he added another to that family legacy when he earned the title of United States Marine.
Diop’s grandfather served in the French Foreign Legion during World War II, and both of his parents served in the Peace Corps, affording him the opportunity to travel frequently. Diop experienced a variety of cultures at a young age, residing in the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Ivory Coast.
“I think the place that impacted me the most was the Ivory Coast,” said Diop. “When you go there, you see that some people are really poor. People are struggling, but they keep their heads up and share what little they have with visitors. They were the biggest givers, and I think there is something to be taken away from that kind of compassion.”
It was not until Diop was 13 that he moved from his home in Toulouse, France, to Washington D.C.
“The move had its challenges, but I had the opportunity to be exposed to all kinds of cultures,” said Diop. “That is something that certainly impacts how I make decisions as a Marine now.”
He attended high school and spent one year at the University of Maryland during his time in Washington, D.C. It was there that he met his wife and relocated to Decatur, Ga.
A couple of years later, after holding down a few jobs in construction and banking, Diop decided to follow in his family’s footsteps.
“I believe my family would be very proud, especially my grandfather,” laughed Diop. “I had a choice between the French Foreign Legion and the Marine Corps, and I know he would give me hell if he were still around. Even so, I wouldn’t do anything different.”
Diop, 30, uses his array of multicultural experiences to excel in his job as a supply administration specialist with Supply Company, 1st Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, as they prepare for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
“Marines come from all different places,” said Sgt. Ariel Colindres, supply administration specialist, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Supply Co., 1st Supply Bn., CLR-15, 1st MLG. “He is one of the wisest Marines I’ve seen. He has so much life experience that he shares with the Marines around him.”
Having already deployed to the region, Diop is familiar with what to expect and the endeavors of being overseas, one of which is being away from family. He says he is very grateful that he made it back from his first deployment in time to share with his wife the moment of their daughter’s birth.
“It’s tough to be away from your family,” said Diop. “But the brotherhood we share with our fellow Marines is kind of a family away from family. The difficulties that we endure only bring us closer together.”
Although the distance is difficult, there are things he enjoys about being overseas, such as convoy operations..
“I’ve never really viewed myself as a ‘behind the desk’ sort of person, even though I have been doing a lot of that lately,” said Diop, who enjoys going out on supply missions. “Sure, some days are long and conditions are sometimes miserable, but that is when the brotherhood and the camaraderie are the strongest.”
These bonds are the reason he joined, and although it can be tough, Diop is prepared to have another successful deployment with his unit as he carries on his family’s legacy.