MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
– He remembers listening to his father’s collection of KISS CDs and discovering the joy and enthusiasm the music gave him.
Today, Lance Cpl. Zackary R. Daniels, a Beechgrove, Ind. native, is a full-time Marine and spare-time musician. He’s a supply administration clerk assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and during his off hours, a plastic trombone and electric bass guitar musician.
“It’s a stress reliever,” said Daniels. “It helps me get through tough days, because I can go play and clear my mind.”
He initially enlisted in the Marine Corps with a plan to capitalize on his musical abilities and fulfill his desire to live a life steeped in music.
“I wanted to be in the Marine Band,” said Daniels. “Before the audition, I realized I wasn’t great at sight reading, so I decided to work with numbers and do supply admin instead.”
Sight reading is a technique that involves a musician reading and playing a sheet of music new to the musician with little to no time to prepare.
Though Daniels elected not to be in the band, he continues to play music and now has a different set of skills to utilize should he decide to take his future a different direction.
“Right now, I plan to reenlist,” said Daniels. “If I can’t or that plan changes then I’d like to go to school for criminal justice and become a police officer.”
Daniels is the oldest of three children and he shares common plans with his younger brother who is planning to attend a police academy and become an officer himself. Daniels expressed that no matter what his future holds he knows he will make time for his music.
“Sometimes work can get difficult,” said Daniels. “Music helps me balance out my lifestyle and work past those difficulties.”
He said he plans to minor in music when he decides to pursue his degree, and continue to practice and play no matter the course of action he takes.
Cpl. Hanna E. Bacon, a supply admin clerk and Daniels mentor, said Daniels is relatively new to the Marine Corps, but displays the potential to succeed.
“He does what he’s asked, when he’s asked and only asks questions that are necessary to complete the mission,” said Bacon.
Daniels was assigned to the MEU recently and is one of many that are new to the 26th MEU team.
“He may not have all the skills yet, but he carries himself well and tries to improve himself,” said Bacon. “He cooperates with his fellow Marines and continues to build on that.”
Daniels said he plans to make a career in the Marine Corps and retire before he attends college, so he has the experience and a stable life to support his endeavors.
“I want to do the best I can, because one day I’d like to be a drill instructor and eventually retire as a sergeant major,” said Daniels. “I love what I do, because I have positive leaders, and I want to continue to pass that on to the Marines I am charged to lead.”