Face of Defense: West Africa Native Fulfills Dream in Marine Corps


In 2002, Marine Corps infantryman Sgt. George Jones told an interviewer that his dream was to retire as an officer in the Marine Corps. Jones, a Liberia native, had by then survived a civil war in his home country, emigrated to the U.S. and joined what he called, “The best looking service in the world.”

A Marine poses for a photo outside the 3rd Marine Division headquarters building.
Marine Corps Capt. George Jones, the current operations officer for 3rd Marine Division, stands in front of his work building at Camp Courtney, Japan, April 18, 2018. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Carl King
A Marine poses for a photo outside the 3rd Marine Division headquarters building.
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Marine Corps Capt. George Jones, the current operations officer for 3rd Marine Division, stands in front of his work building at Camp Courtney, Japan, April 18, 2018. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Carl King

“In 1994, I came to America as an 18-year-old kid with my parents,” said Jones, the 3rd Marine Division’s current operations officer. “We came to America because it was my dream to visit the United States and at the time they were the only ones offering refugees the chance to resettle.”

Jones said that while his family was in Liberia, they stayed pretty close to an American embassy. This familiarization led to his wanting to become a Marine at a very young age.

“It was obvious why I joined the Marine Corps,” Jones said. “I like a challenge, and I wanted to be one of the best of the best.”

When he arrived in the U.S., Jones started paying for college out of his own pocket, but realized it was very expensive. He returned to his dream of becoming a U.S. Marine and stopped college to enlist, attending boot camp at Parris Island in South Carolina.

Going Maverick

While an enlisted Marine, Jones was able to apply to the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training program and earned his commission. The program has since been supplanted by the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Educational Program.

Jones has now been an officer for eight years. His Marines say he has been a great influence.

“My first impression of Capt. Jones was that he was one of the most thorough and articulate Marines I had ever met,” said Master Sgt. Michael Lester, the logistics operations chief for 3rd Marine Division. “My saying about him is that ‘pressure makes diamonds,’ because that’s what he does. He puts pressure on you, because he’s going to make you shine.”

Now with only two years remaining until he retires, Jones has proven to himself and the world that anyone can achieve their goals if they pursue them.