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    Ten credits away from success; Iwakuni Marine balances his family, Marines, work all while attending college



    Story by Cpl. Laiqa Hitt 

    AFN Iwakuni

    MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan - Some people anxiously sat down at the recruiting office in their local strip mall where there were large amounts of bodies walking in out of that place to listen to the person across the desk from them with a very peculiar haircut and starch ironed shirt trying to recruit them into the military. That recruiter more than likely told them about various benefits the military offered, one of those things being college tuition.

    Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Walters, the flight line mess hall manager, balances a family, work and college aboard Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni. He ends his shift at the flight line mess hall to continue his day studying at college, determined to finish his bachelor’s degree with the University of Maryland University College.

    The majority of food service Marines get orders to the remote island of Okinawa, Japan, miles away from mainland Japan due to the several Marine Corps bases accompanying thousands of Marines; leaving very few to take care of the Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, the only Marine Corps base in mainland Japan. The few Marines who get orders to Iwakuni usually become very close to their chain of command, like Lance Cpl. Rebecca Messex, a food service specialist, who works directly under Walters.

    “Gunnery Sgt. Walters, he’s just a motivator. He’s always busy with work and he’s busy with trying to keep things in food service in general under control, but then he has a family and does school and then he also finds time to come PT with us every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”

    Walters practices this routine on a weekly basis. With only about ten credits away from his bachelor’s degree, he’s not letting anything get in his way.

    “One of the goals I have before I leave Japan is to finish my bachelor’s degree in business and administration and utilize the experiences I have as a manager in the Marine Corps for when I do eventually become a civilian,” said Walters.

    From deployments to duty stations and his overall experience in the Marine Corps, Walters has seen it all. With 20 years under his belt as a Marine, he has learned that idle time is a waste of time.

    “My upbringing in the Marine Corps as well as before I joined was always on the go,” said Walters. “There’s really never a dull moment and if there is, you’re wasting time.”

    The Marine Corps fully supports and encourages Marines to go to school and to go further into their studies to advance themselves. Luckily for Walters, he’s realized that.

    Walters states “I think the biggest thing of going to school and utilizing all the education benefits that the Marine Corps has to offer and still continues to offer is use them while you can, because once you get off active duty, tuition assistance is no longer there. So might as well use what you can now so therefore you can utilize the extra benefits to possibly get a masters or PHD in the future.”

    Walters’ continues to take classes on base to finish his bachelor’s degree and achieve his goals.



    Date Taken: 12.21.2015
    Date Posted: 12.31.2015 02:00
    Story ID: 185517

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