CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marque Avery recalls making the choice to join the military when he was in second grade. The Cleveland native contemplated joining the Army while he was in high school and opted to join the Marine Corps instead when he learned the Marine recruiter could make his dream come true sooner.
Avery, a supply clerk assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said, “The Marine recruiter got me to boot camp faster and even arranged for me to leave for boot camp a month earlier than he originally planned.”
For military prospects and those in the delayed entry program, the opportunity to get to boot camp sooner can be beneficial. The sooner an individual gets through boot camp or basic training, the quicker he or she can get in the operating forces and begin their lives as service members.
Avery said leaving sooner was more beneficial to his long term plans and he was happy with the opportunity to be a Marine, because his father was a Marine.
“My dad was in the infantry and served for eight years,” said Avery. “My mom was supportive of my decision to join because she knew how it was for my dad.”
With the support of his mom, two older sisters, younger brother, and his grandparents, Avery enlisted and became a supply clerk. He deployed with the 26th MEU in 2013 as part of the unit’s rotational deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.
Currently, Avery is in his last month of active duty service and will transfer into inactive reserve status June 30.
“When I’m out, I’m planning on going to Cleveland State and getting my degree in Mechanical Engineering,” said Avery. “I’ve always liked taking things apart and learning how they work, so that’s what I want to do.”
The occupational skills Avery learned in the Marine Corps do not transfer directly to mechanical engineering, but Avery said he learned other character and personal traits that will help him succeed beyond the Corps.
“Respect is the most important thing I’ve learned,” said Avery. “It isn’t about age or where you’re from. It’s about rank and experience and respecting that.”
In addition to expressing an emphasis on respect himself, other Marines in the MEU, such as Cpl. Roberto A. Salcedo, an administrative specialist assigned to the 26th MEU and friend of Avery, have shared positive and encouraging feedback when talking about or with Avery.
“He’s motivated, he cares about his fellow Marines, and he’ll assist them at his own expense,” said Salcedo. “He helped me in situations where I needed to get things done, and I don’t own a car, so Avery offered and drove me where I needed to go.”
Salcedo said he foresees Avery succeeding wherever he goes because of his selflessness and friendliness.
“He goes with the flow of the situation and adapts,” said Salcedo. “When he leaves, I will stay in contact with him, because he’s a good friend and a great Marine.”
Avery is currently waiting for a reply to his application from Cleveland State. He said he chose the school to be close to home.
“I’m a CSU Vikings fan, I’ve heard great things about their engineering program, and I won’t be too far from my family,” said Avery.
As it gets closer to Avery’s time to transition from the Marine Corps, he said he has is glad he served and he wouldn’t do it differently.
“I’m going to miss the camaraderie of the Marine Corps,” said Avery. “It’s been a memorable experience, and I will take what I’ve learned and continue to improve.”