CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq -- The right to wear the eagle, globe and anchor and be considered among the world’s finest is a privilege that is hard earned.
Lance Cpl. Josslyn D. Selzer, a 19-year-old Boone, N.C., native with Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, is living out that dream.
“I have always wanted to be a Marine, since I was about 8,” said Selzer, an ammunition technician for the battalion. “My sister, Deadra, is in the Marines; she joined a year-and-a-half before me, but I knew I wanted to join long before she ever did.”
His dream of being a Marine was fueled by his father, Scott, who was in the Corps from 1981 to 1984 and got out as a corporal.
“When I was younger, he said that it was great; the best thing he ever did,” Selzer said. “When I was 16 or 17, however, he said that I couldn’t do it, that I wouldn’t be a Marine, so I proved him wrong.”
Selzer enlisted in September 2004 and was assigned to the battalion in March 2005. In the short time he has been a Marine, he has made deep impressions on his chain of command.
“He’s doing a great job for a Marine as junior as he is,” said Cpl. David J. Moore, a 31-year-old Pittsburgh native and ammunition technician. “I would take him on any deployment, anywhere, anytime. He works relentless hours with a smile on his face and a positive attitude.”
In fact Selzer’s upbeat attitude is the defining feature to those who work with him.
“He’s a funny guy,” said 1st Lt. James K. Puzz, the camp commandant for Camp Baharia and who works in the same logistics shop as Selzer. “He’s always in good spirits, even when he is going through rough times. He affects the senior leadership, as well. When we are having a bad day, he always brightens us up a little.”
Selzer has his own reasons for going out of his way to make people smile.
“A sergeant I knew told me once that motivation is contagious,” he said. “I could be in a bad mood and if someone walks by me and gives me an 'OOH-RAH,' I will give it right back to them. It’s contagious, plus I think you should always try to make the best of a bad situation.”
Another example of how much his command thinks of him is the lance corporal chevrons he has pinned to his cammies.
“Two months after I got to the fleet, the fist sergeant noticed I was doing a good job,” said Selzer. “I was recommended for a meritorious promotion board. I won the competition easily and got promoted the next month. I was also on a Marine of the quarter board, even though I didn’t win. The sergeant major asked me what I wanted to do in the Marine Corps and I said I wanted to be an officer. He looked at the first sergeants on either side of him and said ‘he wins.’ Everyone started laughing, including me, which is probably why I lost.”
Selzer still wants to be an officer but says that he wants to remain enlisted for a while. He doesn’t know if he wants to do a whole career in the Marines. “I have only been in for a year; it’s too early to be making that decision.”
If he does go the officer route, his fellow Marines think he can do it.
“He’s a good kid, he has a good work ethic,” said Sgt. Delford L. McDonald, a 24-year-old Grantsville, W.Va., native and ammunition chief. “He follows orders well with little to no supervision. I think he has what it takes to be an officer, he is in shape physically and he is a smart kid.”
“He gets stuff done,” said Puzz, a 28-year-old Biloxi, Miss., native. “He is one of those Marines you don’t have to ask twice to do something. I think he can get accepted for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Program, his package looks really good.”
Above all else though, Selzer just enjoys being a Marine.
“It’s the one thing I have always wanted to do and now I am doing it,” he said with a big smile on his face.