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Why I Serve: Movie Influences Marine's Decision to Enlist

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

UTAPAO, Thailand, Jan. 21, 2005 – "I made the decision to come in (to the Marines) in 10th grade," said Cpl. Justin Morris of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group. "But they wouldn't take me until I was a senior."

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Cpl. Justin Morris, with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, waits for the next group of servicemembers to check in at the military's registration desk at the Ambassador City Jomtien hotel in Pattaya, Thailand. Morris has deployed to Thailand to participate in support of the military's efforts in the disaster relief operation. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley

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

The influence that drove Morris to join the Corps is a bit unusual.

"I saw 'Born on the Fourth of July,'" Morris said. The movie flipped a switch. "It was something in Tom Berenger's speech at the beginning of the movie." The 1989 film was about a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran who became an anti-war activist.

Currently stationed at Okinawa, Morris, originally from the Pittsburgh area, is on orders to Thailand to assist in the tsunami relief effort. Oddly enough, Thailand is part of the Marine's favorite memory of his service. He was sent here in 2003.

"I'd never been out of the country," Morris said. "(The military) sent me to Okinawa and then Thailand. It blew my mind."

But his favorite part of his job as an administrative clerk is "the Marines I work with," he said, noting it's "just the atmosphere that's provided being there."

While Morris has decided not to make the Marine Corps a career -- he's due to separate in July -- he said it's given him great opportunities to develop his interests.

"You spend a lot of time by yourself," he said. And he's used that time to write. He is planning on attending Bowling Green State University in Ohio beginning in August. Morris said he chose that school in particular because it has a good creative writing program.

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