Graduation to infantry: Senior follows in cousin’s footsteps, joins U.S. Marine Corps to serve, learn

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Photo Courtesy of Joshua Walker

Sitting in the bed of his truck for his senior pictures, senior Joshua Walker smiles. Walker plans to follow in his cousin’s footsteps, who is a sergeant and infantryman in the United States Marines, by joining the service himself after graduation on Saturday, May 22. “My cousin has always been very motivating towards me and spoke highly of the Marine Corps and all it has to offer, so I decided I wanted to challenge myself to earn the title,” Walker said. “Because if not me then who, and if not now then when?”

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Growing up surrounded by inspiration from his cousin, a sergeant and infantryman in the United States Marines, senior Joshua Walker has had an interest in the military since he was in fifth grade. Now, Walker will follow in those footsteps by joining the service. After graduation and signing his 03 infantry contract, Walker will head out to boot camp Sept. 27 to become a machine gunner just like his role model.

Marines, a department of the United States Navy that are stationed worldwide, serve on U.S. Navy ships, protect naval bases and provide the U.S. with a quick strike force, holding the role of being the first force on the ground in most conflicts. For Walker, he said that joining the Marine Corps meant challenging himself.

“My cousin has always been very motivating towards me and spoke highly of the Marine Corps and all it has to offer, so I decided I wanted to challenge myself to earn the title,” Walker said. “Because if not me than who, and if not now then when?”

Marines live by a set of enduring core values that form the bedrock of our character. These values guide our actions and bolster our resolve. Honor, courage and commitment lead us to victory over the physical, mental and moral battles faced during combat, or while serving in our communities on behalf of our Nation. These are the values that ensure every fight in current and future battles supports our common moral cause.”

— United States Marine Corps Recruiting website

After becoming sure he wanted to join the military his freshman year, Walker began looking into serving in the Marine Corps as a role he would follow out of high school.

“After speaking to the recruiters and looking into my options within the Marine Corps, I chose the infantry (division),” Walker said. “I like the challenges it will face me with and the opportunities that come with it.”

The Marines infantry division is a ground combat element force that works in close combat, and with his cousin, who is his only other family member in the military, being a machine gunner in this division, Walker said he dreamed of becoming one too, despite his family’s concerns for him going to serve.

“Naturally my parents and family were worried about my serving,” Walker said. “However, they understand my reasoning and are willing to support me in what I do, even if it’s scary to them.”

Principal John Burdett also said he is in support of those who choose to enter the military.

“I am proud of our young men and women who choose to serve our country in the military or as a first responder,” Burdett said. “Our country needs great leaders to lead us into an unpredictable future, and I am confident that Joshua will be one of those leaders.”

Marine Corps recruiters have also said that the leadership of those in the service is a part of what leads to victory as well.

“Marines live by a set of enduring core values that form the bedrock of our character,” United States Marine Corps Recruiting website said. “These values guide our actions and bolster our resolve. Honor, courage and commitment lead us to victory over the physical, mental and moral battles faced during combat, or while serving in our communities on behalf of our Nation. These are the values that ensure every fight in current and future battles supports our common moral cause.”

For Walker, though, he said he is not only entering on behalf of serving, but he also wants to learn.

“I hope to learn discipline and better understand my abilities during my time in service,” Walker said. “There are many challenges ahead but with each one that is overcome I hope to gain more confidence in myself and my abilities and the abilities of those around me.”