LtCol Jerry Carter
Jerry Carter: "When I came out of high school in 1983, the opportunities were few and far between. I came from a very humble beginning, and, uh, what was very apparent to me is that my family could not afford to send me, uh, to college. I knew I wanted to go to college and, and do other things in life. And the Marine Corps, uh, presented a, a number of opportunities, opened up a lot of doors for me. Uh, in many ways I would say that it, it has changed my life dramatically. One of the midshipmen, uh, I shared earlier, asked me--I was a banking and finance major here--and he asked, uh, why I didn't go on to corporate America, why I elected to come to the Marine Corps, and stay and serve. And, uh, the money is, uh, good, uh, in corporate America, I would suppose, uh, but the friendship is, uh, a lifetime. When you're out there, uh, as we call it, 'on point,' uh, whether it's Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, uh, the Horn of Africa doing some other things, it's the man to your left and your right that's gonna win the day. Uh, at the end of the day, everybody has to, you have to rely and depend on each individual to accomplish the mission, so that's where you, you learn about the foundation on what it takes, um, to, uh, accomplish your mission, so to speak. Overall, whether, uh, you're an intelligence officer, an infantry officer, it doesn't matter. As a Marine Corps officer, as a Marine in general, any Marine, uh, from Private all the way to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, you can look at a Marine and say that there's a guy that I can count on, and he has a very good base of, uh, leadership and, and some qualities about him that would be successful in any, uh, part of the world. It was a huge transformation. I went to Parris Island, I can still remember, and some of the things that, uh, uh, I talked to my other service counterparts. Uh, they don't know the, their service birthdays, I mean we knew from day one at, uh, training camp, uh, Parris Island was June 10th, 1985. I was very fortunate to graduate as a series honor man, uh, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but when I left Parris Island, I walked tall, my shoulders were rolled back, head and eyes straight to the front, and there was nothing in the world that I didn't think I could accomplish when I left, uh, 'the motivated island,' as we called it."