MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- His goal was to make the most out of his four years. More than 14 years later, the Selma, Ala. native has a different goal and a little advice for junior Marines.
Warrant Officer James Hatcher, Transportation Voucher Certification Division and Program and Resource Department Transportation chief, joined the Marine Corps in 1992 with the goal to serve for four years.
“I picked up my first three ranks meritoriously. At my second command I was promoted to sergeant. All of this was during my first enlistment. I felt halfway above the game, the future looked promising - so I decided to stay,” Hatcher said.
Promise is in his future.
Hatcher was promoted to gunnery sergeant Jan. 1, and later pinned as a warrant officer on Feb. 1.
“I was encouraged to apply many times,” Hatcher said. “I was [first] encouraged as a sergeant by then Gunnery Sgt. Williams -- now a chief warrant officer. At that time though, I didn’t have the required score.”
Score wasn’t Hatcher’s only hindrance.
“Applying for the program was something that I wanted to do, but I didn’t have the confidence in myself,” Hatcher said.
To boost both his confidence and his score, Hatcher took the Military Basic Skills Assessment Test while in Okinawa. He also planned to take the ASVAB, but was hindered due to a high operational tempo.
I was again encouraged to take the test upon arrival here by Captain Churchill, said.
Churchill’s encouragement paid off, because Hatcher pinned on warrant officer this month.
Along the way, Hatcher was also discouraged from applying in the program.
“I received a Driving Under the Influence entry in my Service Record Book in 1997. I was told that it was the Ônail in my coffin,’” Hatcher revealed. “But I didn’t let that deter me. I believed that I had to work that much harder - if my peers ran fast and jumped high, I had to run faster and jump higher.”
“I did what I needed to do and it all worked out,” Hatcher said.
Hatcher feels his contribution to the Marines and the Marine Corps can be accomplished on a larger scale.
“I take joy in taking care of Marines. As a staff noncommissioned officer I took pleasure in doing that. But as an officer I can do it on a grander scale - I’ll have the capability to affect policies,” he said.
All it takes is determination in the face of adversity.
“You hold the key to your own destiny. With drive and determination there is nothing you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it,” he concluded.