Hard work, dedication pay off for Scottish born Marine
By Lance Cpl. Kari D. Keeran
| Marine Corps Recruiting Command | March 30, 2007
QUANTICO, Va. --
Becoming a United States citizen and then one of the few and the proud is an accomplishment in itself, but for one Marine, it just wasn’t enough. This Scotland born soccer player wants to lead the world’s finest into combat. He shares the same blood with World War veterans, and one could say after meeting him that he has the strong will and determination it takes to lead Marines into battle.
Becoming a Marine, attaining U.S. citizenship and graduating college are just a few of the turning points 25-year-old John J. Dick has had in his life. He now has accomplished what might be an even bigger turning point…becoming an officer in the United States Marine Corps.
Dick was born in Bathgate, Scotland, and moved with his family to Somerville, N.J., in 1995.
His father, John, served in the British Army for six years in the 1960s, his mother, Violet, was a nurse.
After graduating high school in 1999, he wanted to join the Marine Corps, but decided to attend Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, on a soccer scholarship first where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history.
“We wanted him to go to college and get a degree and then join the Marines so he could have a commission,” Mrs. Dick said.
After college, Dick walked into the recruiter’s office in Somerville and joined the Marine Corps. He wanted to be an officer, but was not qualified without his citizenship. That did not stop him, however, from becoming a Marine, so he enlisted in the Corps in 2004, and attended recruit training at Parris Island, S.C.
“My family has a huge military background. Both sides of the family are World War I and World War II vets, and I wanted to start a new family history in America, since we are over here, so I joined up,” Dick said.
Dick became an administrative clerk and began pursuing his citizenship to become an officer while serving as the assistant waivers chief of operations at Marine Corps Recruiting Command, Quantico, Va. Marines here helped him get the necessary paperwork to become a U.S. citizen.
Dick earned his citizenship in May 2006 after paperwork, background checks, interviews and tests. Once he obtained citizenship he began working on his Enlisted Commissioning Program package to apply for Officer Candidates School. This program allows Marines who already have a bachelor’s degree the potential for attending OCS.
For those who know him, they expect he will achieve great things and go far in life.
“He is an outstanding Marine. He will make a fine officer. I believe he is one that will always accomplish the mission, never sacrifice the honor of the Corps or himself, and, most important, he will never sacrifice the Marines in his charge,” said Master Gunnery Sergeant Patrick Arbec, operations chief MCRC.
While serving our nation, Dick has also been able to continue his love for soccer by playing on the Marine Corps Base Quantico team.
Most Marine Corps bases offer intramural sports throughout the year. These teams play each other and, occasionally, civilian teams in surrounding communities. Marines who are particularly good can try out for the All-Marine teams, which compete against other services and civilian teams at a national and international levels.
When Dick got stationed at the recruiting command, he found out the base had a soccer team, so he tried out and made the team. He started playing defender, but last year during the championship game they were down one player, so he moved to forward, where he scored three goals. Dick earned the Most Improved Player of the Year award last year.
He was the only player on the team who didn’t have to try out again this year and became this year’s striker.
“I love that you have to score goals and fight against the other guys; it’s a great sport. I’m a competitor, I like to win everything,” said Dick.
His competitive nature has pushed him to succeed at OCS, shown by his successful completion and sequential graduation this morning.
He hopes to graduate The Basic School number one in his class and intends to continue his Marine career as an infantry officer and start a law degree while in the Marine Corps.
His parents believe this journey has been one which will help him succeed in life.
“We are very proud; he is becoming a marvelous person,” his mother said. We’ve watched him mature and I think he is more self-reliant. You can see he has a lot of inner strength, to be honest, we never knew existed before.”
“I like being a Marine, so I’m going to do it as long as I like it,” said Dick. “Being a Marine is like the American dream, if you work at it you can go far in little time. The Marine Corps is a future.”
Dick was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in a ceremony held today at The National Museum of the Marine Corps aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.
To find out more about the opportunities in the Marine Corps, visit www.marines.com.