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Why I Serve: Young Marine Motivated by Discipline

By Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., Dec. 16, 2004 – "I just want to be successful at anything I do and I want to always be able to support myself," explained Pfc. Timothy A. Spreder. "That's why I joined the Marine Corps so early in life."

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Marine Pfc. Timothy A. Spreder applies an arm bar on a fellow Marine during martial art training. Photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

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

The Boone County, Ky., native became a Marine at age 17 with his parents' permission.

As a young man attending Simon Kenton High School, Spreder wasn't involved in many activities. As a 16-year-old without any direction in his life, he joined the Army National Guard's Bluegrass Challenge at Fort Knox, Ky. The challenge, which is a six-month boot camp-like program, helped Spreder receive his General Educational Development diploma.

"I knew the military was my only option, because high school wasn't working out for me, and I wanted the discipline the challenge offered," Spreder explained. "It put me on the path to success, because you can't go anywhere without a high school diploma."

Upon completing the challenge program, Spreder's parents signed his four-year contract with the Marines. He said his parents, Monica and Dale Spreder, provided him with the support he needed to accomplish the goals he wanted to reach.

"My mom and dad always supported me," Spreder said. "They knew I understood what I was getting into," he noted. "They taught me how to show respect for others, which was fine-tuned by the Marine Corps."

The receptions clerk is responsible for checking all new Marines into the 2d Marine Division. "I come in contact with all different types of Marines, so this job has enhanced my skills in dealing with people," Spreder said.

He said his aspirations are similar to most people's. "I just want to be successful at anything I do, and I want to always be able to support myself," he explained. "That's why I joined the Marine Corps so early in life."

As a Marine, Spreder has come to realize that a schedule can be more beneficial than he ever imagined. "Before I joined, it would take about two months for me to actually get things done," he said. "But now, life seems so much easier, because I get everything done ahead of time so I'm not rushed to complete it.

"I wanted to serve in the military. I knew it was what I was meant to do, and as a Marine I strive to be the best."

(Marine Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel is a combat correspondent with the 2nd Marine Division.)

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