News: Eagle Scout pursues dream, becomes U.S. Marine
Story by Lance Cpl. Crystal Druery
SAN DIEGO - Everyone who earns the title “Marine” does it for a different reason. For Recruit Colten C. Sponseller, platoon 2142, Company G, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, the Marine Corps is one of the many stepping stones toward his dream of becoming a senator. Sponseller said he believes the Marine Corps can help him reach his dream by giving him an experience he wouldn’t get anywhere else.
The Midland, Mich., native comes from a strong religious family of six. His father, a former Marine, and mother instilled patriotism and a love for the country while growing up. This encouraged him to take part in government relations, which he is now working toward in college.
At an early age, Sponseller joined the Boy Scouts of America. He dedicated himself until he was 18 and earned the title of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Scouting.
"(The Boy Scouts of America) planted a seed of patriotism and a sense of duty," said Sponseller.
After graduating high school, Sponseller volunteered two years with his church's missionary program in Europe. While abroad, he gained a new respect for his own culture.
“I learned to appreciate and value my own country and culture as I experienced the differences other places had to offer,” said 22-year-old Sponseller.
Upon returning home he began attending Utah Valley University, majoring in international relations. He said was then selected to take the Foreign Service Officer’s exam, the first step in becoming a foreign officer for the U.S. Department of State. With a desire to first pursue a more hands-on learning experience and give back to his country, Sponseller enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves for six years, which will allow him to continue attending college.
“I wasn’t really prepared for training the way I thought I’d be,” said Sponseller. “I’ve been in many leadership roles, but since (I’ve been) at recruit training I’ve learned how to accept the leadership of others. I have to do my best so no one else has to pay for my mistakes.”
With his mother always being a positive example of working hard and devoting herself to any task and a father who taught him to finish what he started, Sponseller came to recruit training with a dedicated mindset. He made this clear to his fellow recruits early on.
“We became close friends when he invited me to his religious services on Sundays,” said recruit Cameron Hutchison, Plt. 2142, Co. G, 2nd RTBn. “He’s become someone I can trust and confide in.”
Sponseller took on the role of prayer leader during recruit training. Driven to help others, he has devoted his time to helping others.
“We don’t know how he does it, but every night he finds a scripture related to what happened that day to keep us all going and motivated,” said Hutchison.
As each recruit gains confidence and matures through each phase. Sponseller excelled in his leadership skills. His senior drill instructor admitted he didn’t notice Sponseller right away because he wasn’t a recruit that needed much help, but excelled and helped other recruits to do the same.
“He’s more mature than most of his fellow recruits,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathon Arellano, senior drill instructor, Plt. 2142, Co. G, 2nd RTBn. “During second phase I started to notice him more. He took it upon himself to help other recruits whenever he could.”
Sponseller hopes to share his beliefs and views with his fellow Marines by to helping them in any way he can.
“My intention while in the Marine Corps is to be a leader and have a positive effect on my unit and the whole Marine Corps,” said Sponseller.
While he is still young, he hopes his experiences pave a path in the direction of his dream of being a senator. He plans to re-apply for the Foreign Service Officer’s exam and finish his degree in international relations.
“You never know what’s down the road,” said Sponseller, who will be graduating along with Company G March 30.