Focus is education after Corps
By Sgt. Joshua Bozeman
| | June 5, 2003
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS -- Like a marathon runner focused on accomplishing his goal regardless of the personal costs, one Albany Marine kept his eyes fixed on a childhood dream even after 20 years in the Marine Corps.
Gunnery Sgt. William Jones said goodbye to friends and coworkers during his retirement luncheon recently and hello to a few more years of school. Jones was recently accepted at the University of Mississippi where he will study to become a family lawyer. His wife already a criminal lawyer but Jones said he wants to practice family law.
According to coworkers at the luncheon, Jones is more than capable of accomplishing his goal citing the remarkable job he had done during his tour here.
Through hard work and determination, Jones pushed open a door of opportunity many of his friends and family thought had been closed to him a long time ago. But when Jones thought about retirement, he didnÕt think of sitting by a river, leaning against a tree with a line drooped lazily in the water; he thought about hitting the books and continuing his education.
During his last three-year tour, Jones spent about 40 hours a week, including weekends, earning a degree. He took his classes online. He made a commitment to himself and the Marine Corps that he would not work on school during regular working hours. This meant he sometimes stayed after work, burning the midnight oil as it were, to work on various school projects. Often, when serving as the officer-of-the-day, he worked hard into the wee hours of the morning or rose at incredibly early hours to study.
"If there is one thing I can imprint on the minds of the Marines under me, it is to get an education especially with tuition being 100 percent now. With all of the web based learning available, there is no excuse for a Marine to leave without at least an associates degree," Jones said.
Jones attributed most of his success to his wife who he said raised their three children while he focused most of his time and energy on his career and his education.
Jones made good grades in high school and his parents always wanted him to become a lawyer or a doctor. But a recruiter persuaded the young Jones to join the Marine Corps instead. His parents were disappointed at first but their son felt joining the Marine Corps was something he had to do.
Looking back on his 20-year career, Jones said he got what he signed up for. He traveled, he learned and he met a lot of people all experiences he is now very grateful for.
During his career, Jones served two tours of Marine Security Guard duty and was meritoriously promoted to staff sergeant.
"The Marine Corps has helped prepare me with future goals," Jones said. "It has taught me discipline and management skills that will serve me well in the future." He added that the most important lesson he's learned during his career is that he is his own person.
"No matter what is going on around you, you are the one who makes the decisions that affect your life," he said.
Jones challenged all Marines to take control of their lives and not see themselves as victims of circumstances. He also encouraged them to stay focused on their goals in life and to fight for what they truly want.