FFA Student Excels in Corps
By SSgt. Marc Ayalin
| Marine Corps Recruiting Command | January 28, 2004
MARINE CORPS RECRUITING COMMAND, MCB QUANTICO, Va. --
As a youth growing up in a rural Northern California community, it was one country boy's dream to experience more of what the world had to offer.
It wasn't a surprise to friends and family when, at age 18, Joel Holmes, a Chico, Calif., native decided to become a United States Marine. Eight years have past and today the 6-foot-3-inch Marine Corporal attributes his success as an adult to what he learned as a teen.
While attending Hamilton City Union High School in Hamilton City, Calif., Holmes was a member of the Future Farmers of America. There, Holmes developed such skills as welding, farming, ranching and farm equipment operation and repair.
According to Holmes, the FFA allowed him to use his imagination to accomplish several shop projects, enriched his passion for the outdoors, and also helped prepare him for what was yet to come.
"I was looking for something new and exciting in life, so I chose to join the best fighting force in the world," Holmes said. "When I left the FFA for the Marine Corps, I already had a lot of skills to work with."
As a testament to building his job skills, Holmes has earned two military occupational specialties. The first of which is as a vehicle operator in the motor transportation field and the second as a telecommunications technician, where he currently serves.
While assigned to a telecommunications facility aboard Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va., Holmes helps manage the switching and connecting of phone communication for more than 16,000 users aboard the base.
Within his unit, Holmes has proven his dedication to duty. His peers and supervisors have acknowledged his efforts as being a valuable Marine.
"He's a hard worker and is always real helpful," said Staff Sergeant Jennifer N. Schager, Technical Control Chief for the Telecommunications Branch here. "In a way, it's a reflection of his personal work ethic."
As far as seeing the world, Holmes has been stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, deployed to Okinawa, Japan and has experienced the diversity of various cultures. In 1999, when Holmes' four-year term was over, he left the Corps - but only for a moment. It was less than a year when he realized that being a Marine was more than just a job.
"While being out of the Marines for a while, I was able to see both sides of the coin," Holmes said. "The Marine Corps offers people more values, more pride and more overall support than any other organization I can think of."
Since Holmes left his hometown on his journey as a Marine, he has also grown tremendously as a husband and father. He is married to Janette and has a 2-year-old daughter, Cirsten.
"When you become a father and a husband you periodically have to take a step back and be open to new experiences with your family," said the 26-year-old Holmes.
Holmes has more experiences waiting for him as Marine and as a family man. He plans to make the Marine Corps a career and his overall goal is to retire with a college degree.