CAMP LEATHERNECK, AFGHANISTAN
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — On Saturdays at Camp Pendleton, Calif., a group of boys ages 8-18 dressed in old camouflage uniforms meet up for periods of character development and physical fitness.
The boys are part of the Eagle Young Marines program, a non-profit youth organization dedicated to drub demand reduction, academics and community service.
Before he deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand province, Afghanistan, Cpl. James Carter volunteered as a mentor to the boys. Here he serves as an administrative specialist assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7, but said when home he loves passing on the principles he learns in the Marine Corps.
“I never really had anybody to guide me,” said Carter, who grew up in Upland, Calif., less than two hours from the Marine base. “I wanted to be able to help them.”
Carter, 21, worked at Costco after high school, but said he was going nowhere fast and needed to get going in a good direction.
“I was stagnant and it wasn’t good,” Carter said. “My brother joined the (Marine) Corps, so I had seen the lifestyle and chose to do that.”
Carter said the Marine Corps has taught him many life lessons about how to work with others.
“In some situations, you just have to swallow your pride for the good of everyone involved,” Carter said.
Carter may swallow his pride when he helps other Marines with administrative issues, but he is still proud to be a Marine.
“The Marine Corps constantly pushes me outside of my comfort zone, showing me each time that I’m always capable of more and that I should never settle for anything less than being the best,” Carter said.
Carter was just selected for Marine Security Guard duty at a foreign embassy and will attend training later this year. Staff Sgt. Robert Garcia, the personnel section chief with RCT-7, said it is no surprise Carter was selected.
“The biggest thing I can say is he’s hard-working,” Garcia said. “If he keeps doing what he’s doing, his potential is limitless.”
As the only noncommissioned officer in the personnel section, Carter has a lot of responsibility but has handled it flawlessly, Garcia said.
“He’s totally independent and very reliable,” said Garcia, a 27-year-old native of San Gabriel, Calif. “He’s also unselfish and always eager to help.”
Carter spends time off working toward a degree through American Military University and is plans to one day work in forensic psychology. Whether it’s after he retires from the Marine Corps or in just a few years, Carter knows he wants to be an investigator for a police force.
Regardless, Carter said he will continue volunteering with the Eagle Young Marines program.
“It’s great to see the discipline and knowledge change the (Eagle Young Marines’) lives,” Carter said. “I like knowing that I made a difference.”
Editor’s note: This article is part of a series wherein every week we recognize an individual Marine or sailor with Regimental Combat Team 7. The Marines and sailors of RCT-7 are dedicated, disciplined and driven to accomplish the mission, and the Marine in this article has earned special recognition for standing out among these professionals. Be sure to check every week to see who will be honored as the latest Marine of the Week.
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This work, “Hard-working” Marine volunteers, helps kids, by LCpl Ned Johnson, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.