I Did the Same Thing-Quit School and Joined the USMC at Age 17

I joined the USMC at age 17 and it was the best thing that I could have ever done at the same time, just like you. It actually led to me getting my GED and eventually getting a BA and MPA degree later. I don’t think I would ever have made it into college without joining the Marine Corps at age 17 and I have always been very proud of my service in the USMC.
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19 comments


  • Jack Wing CWO-3 Ret.

    Yep! Sounds just like me! I tried to enlist when I was 16 in 1957. The recruiter caught on and I had to wait until I was 17. I quit school and later received a GED while stationed on Okinawa. I did the four years (1958-1962) and separated as a Corporal E-4. I kicked around doing many different jobs, but always thought of the Corps and being back in. In 1966 while Vietnam was in full swing I re-entered as a PFC. Went to my first year in Vietnam and returned as a Corporal. Was transferred to Albany Ga. where I promoted to Sergeant shortly after. I was a Sergeant for six years (Frozen MOS). Had orders to ‘Gitmo’ to work with the Minefield Maint. team in 1972. My years tour lasted five months because I was selected for the Warrant Officer Program. I retired in 1982 as a CWO-3… When I retired in 1982 I started with the Marine Corps JROTC in New Jersey and Florida. Retired from the school in 2007…I wore the Marine Corps Uniform for 46 years!!!!! I WOULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN !!!!!!


  • Walter Kennedy

    In reply to Bob.
    I was the Platoon Commander of Platoon 374.


  • David E. Tyre………….Sgt……’54-’57 Platoon 437, !st Bn. PISC

    In reply to Philip Kercher.
    Know what you are sayin’! Same here, only I flunked out Spring quarter at UGA in 1954. Worked construction work on a road building project, joined the Corps in Oct. 1954, got off P.I. January, ’55, then ITR at Camp Geiger. Lucked up and got Sea Duty! Two med cruises and then Camp Lejeune, N.C.. got out in 1957, went back to college, graduated in 1960, and also credit the Corps for helping me grow up become a man. Gung Ho and Semper Fi!!!


  • Thearle Lacey

    My Dad died when I was just shy of my 16th birthday. It was a major blow for me for we were extremely close. Hardly a day when I didn’t hear Marine stories from his WW II Pacific war experiences and the wounds that eventually took his life after many years of being handicapped. I signed up for the Corps at 16 in April and was due for Parris Island in a couple of months. It was right after my 17th birthday I got to PI. I’m glad I did for I strongly believe that had I not quit school and all that I wouldn’t have “made” it in life. The Corps actually became a father of sorts to set my path for my Life’s journey.


  • Jim Johnson, Buck Sgt E-4

    I also enlisted the week I turned 17, I quit high school in ’53, went straight to MCRD San Diego. A week later I thought “Good Grief, what, pray tell, have I done? After 3 years in the Marine Corps and 14 months 23 days in Korea, I knew what I had done. I got out in 56, finished high school, went on to get a BA and never looked back. God bless the USMC! Semper Fi!


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