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Why I Serve: School Project Paved Marine's Path

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

UTAPAO, Thailand, Jan. 26, 2005 – "I always knew I wanted to be a Marine," said Staff Sgt. Michael McGeorge of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group based in Okinawa.

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Marine Sgt. Michael McGeorge, seated, with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group based in Okinawa, works at the military's registration at the Ambassador City Jomtien hotel in Pattaya, Thailand. The Marines were lodged at the hotel while in Thailand in support of the tsunami disaster relief operations. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

McGeorge deployed here to support relief efforts after the Dec. 26 tsunami hit South Asia.

It was a project in the eighth grade that prompted him to choose the path to the Marines. His assignment was to research and compare two careers he found interesting.

"I chose truck driving and the military," he said.

When he couldn't find information about truck driving, he'd talk to the military recruiters. McGeorge said the Marine recruiter was the only service recruiter that showed any interest in the eighth-grader. That sealed the deal for McGeorge.

"I never thought about college," the diesel mechanic said. "I went right to the Marines.

"The first couple of enlistments were kind of tough," he said.

He was newly married with nothing but a high school education and he felt he had to stay in the service to support his family. He now has three children, ages 4, 5, and 8, and a career in the Marines.

While he may have always known that he wanted to be a Marine, McGeorge's reasons have grown more poignant since Sept. 11, 2001.

"Ever since 9/11, it's kind of never been a question," he said, "even more since the tsunami. I know I'm here for a good cause."

Originally from Grand Island, Neb., McGeorge said he likes the travel that the Corps affords him. Plus, there are "all the unique people I get to see and the experiences I get to have," and bonuses too, he said.

McGeorge has taken some college classes and enjoys writing. "I think my best writing is my letters to my wife during out separations," he said.

Despite his artistic bent, he said he might consider business management when his career in the Marines is over.

"I like the paperwork," he said. "I like to teach my junior Marines. I like to mold them."

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