Success Stories

The Marine Corps is full of success stories. The following biographies are examples of what can be
achieved in the Corps and, in many cases, beyond.


Karla Cumbie

Rank: Captain
Years In Service: 2006 - Present
UH-1Y Pilot


Karla Cumbie has always had a warrior spirit. Her athletic talent led her to the U.S Naval Academy where she competed in Division 1 Volleyball. The challenge to earn the title was what first attracted Captain Cumbie to the Marine Corps.

Her leadership, hard work and dedication earned her a position as a Weapons and Tactics Instructor, a designation reserved for only a small percentage of Marine Corps pilots.


Lindsay Rodman

Rank: Captain
Years In Service: 2008 - Present
Judge Advocate


Captain Lindsay Rodman's parents always encouraged her to stay true to her ideals and follow her instincts. As a Duke and Harvard graduate, she had multiple career opportunities. However, she saw the Marine Corps as the place where she could make the greatest impact.

Now, she's a judge advocate and White House Fellow. Captain Rodman has already earned impressive titles in her young career. But the title she's most proud of is Marine.

1st Lieutenant

Marisol Salgado

Rank: 1st Lieutenant
Years In Service: 2003 - Present
Aviation Supply Officer


As an immigrant, First Lieutenant Marisol Salgado sees her service in the Marine Corps as a way to give something back to her nation. Her family initially had reservations about her decision, but she was determined to become a Marine.

Leadership comes naturally to First Lieutenant Salgado. Today, her family and fellow Marines are inspired by her resolve and look forward to seeing what she sets her sights on next.

Jake Wood

Rank: Sergeant
Years In Service: 2005 - 2009
Scout Sniper

Having already graduated college, he could have pursued the path to become an officer, but for Jake Wood the call to become an Enlisted Marine was too strong. During his deployment, Wood served honorably as a Fire Team Leader in Iraq. In late 2009, Wood left the Marine Corps, but his training stayed with him. Immediately following the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti, Wood formed Team Rubicon and used his Marine Corps training to provide relief to the people of Haiti. Today, Team Rubicon responds to natural disasters all over the world, and Wood credits the Marine Corps for giving him the dedication, perseverance and judgment needed to make him a success.

William McNulty

Rank: Sergeant
Years In Service: 2001 - 2008
Intel Specialist

William McNulty grew up listening to incredible stories about the Marine Corps as told by his two grandfathers, both of whom have served as Marines. So it was no big surprise when, some years later, McNulty found himself marching across the parade deck and proudly accepting the title of United States Marine. As a Marine, McNulty served as a TOW Gunner and later as an Intel Specialist. As a civilian, McNulty continues to put his Marine Corps training to good use as cofounder of Team Rubicon — a team of veterans that provide emergency disaster relief to people all over the world.


Rico Acosta

Rank: Captain
Years In Service: 2000 - Present
Judge Advocate – Senior Defense Counsel

Soon after becoming a Marine Corps Judge Advocate, Captain Rico Acosta put his legal skills to use as a legal assistance attorney, aiding Marines with a variety of matters, including wills, Powers of Attorney, and estate planning issues.

After eighteen months in legal assistance, Capt Acosta was assigned as a defense counsel. Later, he became the Senior Defense Counsel at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, responsible both for handling his own caseload and for leading the Marines assigned to his office.


John Paul Cimina

Rank: Captain
Years In Service: 2003 - Present
Naval Flight Officer

Captain John Cimina was first drawn to the Marine Corps by the values Marines embody. He was eager to take on the challenges of becoming a Marine, and to prove he had the skills to fly in Marine combat aircraft. As a Naval Flight Officer , he runs the navigation systems, radios and weapons in the EA-6B Prowler.

Every mission is a team effort—both he and the pilot have to work together to succeed. More importantly, they're both part of a larger team; they are Marines.

Serving as a Marine Officer is more than what he does; it's who he is. The Marine Corps instills a sense of excellence and brotherhood in every Marine, and Capt Cimina is proud to have earned a place among the few.

John Besh

Rank: Corporal
Years In Service: 1986 - 1992

For New Orleans chef John Besh, the Marine Corps did more than prepare him for success, it inspired him to become a leader in the culinary world. During Desert Storm he helped liberate the Kuwaiti Airport as a squad leader. Years later as a civilian, following Hurricane Katrina, he drew on experience as a Marine and a chef to lead relief efforts. Throughout his career, Besh has opened four highly successful restaurants, earned several prestigious culinary awards and been featured on the Food Network.


Darhonda Rodela

Rank: Sergeant
Years In Service: 2003 - 2011
Public Affairs Combat Correspondent

The pride Sergeant Darhonda Rodela feels about her time in the Marine Corps is evident. Since becoming a Marine in 2003, her role as a public affairs correspondent took her to Baghdad and back. She reported the news, captured stories of Marines overseas and helped to preserve Marine Corps history. After choosing to re-enlist in 2006 and receiving numerous promotions, Sergeant Rodela received her honorable discharge in June, 2011.

Nathaniel Fick

Rank: Infantry Officer
Years In Service: 1999 - 2004
Infantry Officer

In 1999, while most Ivy League graduates headed for Wall Street or dot-com ventures, Nathaniel Fick sought a greater challenge and purpose. He found it when he earned a commission in the Marine Corps.

Fick's experiences as a Marine Officer have been documented by Rolling Stone and dramatized by HBO, but the story is best told in his own words. The New York Times bestseller One Bullet Away is his detailed account of his Marine Corps career, including The Basic School, deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, and the decisions he made at each phase.

Today, he is CEO of a Washington, D.C.-based cyber security firm and is frequently called upon for his leadership and insight as a former Marine.

Lieutenant Colonel

Jerry Carter

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Years In Service: 1985 - Present
Marine Air Ground Task Force, Intelligence Officer

When Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Carter enlisted in the Marine Corps, he quickly distinguished himself as a leader of Marines. Within three years of joining the Marine Corps, he was awarded an NROTC scholarship, and in 1992 he earned both a BA degree in Banking and Finance and a commission as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps. He has served in a variety of capacities as an expert in counter-terrorism, including an assignment as the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

Angie Morgan

Rank: Captain
Years In Service: 1997 - 2006
Public Affairs Officer

Angie Morgan became a Marine seeking challenge and adventure, but quickly realized it was the leadership training that would change her life forever. Today, she runs her own company called Lead Star, training business professionals to be decisive and inspiring leaders — some of the same qualities she learned in the Marine Corps.


Stacey Taylor

Rank: Major
Years In Service: 1993 - Present

For Major Stacey Taylor, the Marine Corps is more than a career, it's a way to make a meaningful contribution. On deployment, Maj Taylor participated in humanitarian operations, assisting in the evacuation of American citizens from Albania in 1996. In his spare time, Maj Taylor volunteers with local community service organizations, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Since the filming of this interview, then-Major Taylor was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and is now the Commanding Officer of Headquarters and Support Battalion, School of Infantry – East.

Rye Barcott

Rank: Captain
Years In Service: 2001 - 2006
Intelligence Officer

Even among the MBA candidates at Harvard Business School, Rye Barcott stands out. A former Marine Officer, he began his career in the ROTC program at the University of North Carolina. While completing his degree, he cofounded a nongovernmental organization that promotes peace through sports, community development and women's empowerment in Kibera, Kenya.

Barcott began training at The Basic School in the fall of 2001, and led for five years as a Marine Intelligence Officer. In 2006, he completed his active duty and entered the Harvard MBA program, ready to take on a leadership role in the business world. After graduating, he plans to put his considerable talents to work in the renewable energy field.