MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJUENE N.C. --
After eight years of diligent studying between two deployments, Sgt. Jason Yoon recently received his bachelor’s degree and gets one step closer to reaching his goal of becoming a Navy officer.
Yoon, rifleman and guide for 4th platoon, Company F, Anti-Terrorism Battalion attached to 2nd Marine Division, took his first steps toward his life’s goal at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, June 2003.
“Initially, I was going to join the Army because my entire family joined the Army,” said Yoon, from Honolulu, Hawaii. “My grandfather, my uncle and my dad all gained citizenship from South Korea to America by joining the Army, so of course, it’s the natural progression. Until one day, when I was approached by the Marine recruiters and after hearing about all of the things Marines do, how they are an elite fighting force and seeing how the recruiters carried themselves. That was when I decided, ‘I’m going to be a Marine.’”
When Yoon enlisted in the Marines, his priority was earning his college degree as quickly as possible. However, Yoon soon found himself deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, delaying him from receiving his degree. It was because of those delays that Yoon found the tools to help his fellow Marines in their own desires for a higher education.
“I had to do a massive amount of research on my own to learn about all of the available military programs and aids to help you get your degree,” said Yoon. “Once I learned how to go about reaching my own goal, I took it upon myself to become the unofficial education officer and use my knowledge to help my Marines further their own education.”
With his knowledge of the military education programs and aids, Yoon began letting his Marines know what he found and push them to take advantage of it.
“I told my Marines from the beginning,” said Yoon. “I’m going to do everything in my power to open your eyes to the possibilities to get a higher level of education. Trust me, it’s going to be worth it.”
While Yoon continued his efforts to mentor his Marines on the benefits of education, he never ended his own efforts to earn his degree and was rewarded for his hard work and dedication. At the end of May, just weeks before activating for his upcoming deployment, Yoon graduated with a 4.0 grade point average and received his bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.
“Getting my degree has changed the way I lead my Marines,” said Yoon. “Because of the amount of focus, discipline and time it took reading through books, sitting through lectures and classes that make you think, I gained the ability to think analytically and objectively, break things down and look for the best approach.”
With his degree in hand, Yoon is closer than ever to reaching his goal to become an officer in the Navy.
Company F., AT Bn. is slated to deploy within the year, and Yoon continues to help his fellow Marine brothers find their goals for a higher education.
“I’m still not certain if we’re going to deploy or not,” said Yoon. “But either way I’m walking away with my degree in hand and will do whatever it takes to reach my goal and receive a commission as an officer in the Navy.”