With frequent moves and deployments a common factor shared by all Marines, they are afforded the unique opportunity to work with individuals whom they never would have met as civilians. What is even more unique and rare is to spend time in the Marine Corps serving side by side with a family member.
Although they joined the Marine Corps decades apart, Master Gunnery Sgt. Corey L. Croom and his daughter Lance Cpl. Chesney A. Croom are currently assigned to the same unit in Okinawa, Japan.
“My daughter already had core values growing up,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Croom, the operations noncommissioned officer in charge with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “The Marine Corps is building on that. I see my daughter now, 15 months after leaving for boot camp, and she is still the same mature young woman she was when she was living in my house. The only difference now is that she is (a lance corporal). It is surreal.”
Before recruit training, Lance Cpl. Croom spent three years on Okinawa in a dependent status. Upon leaving her military occupational specialty school, she received orders to return to the Asia-Pacific region.
“I lived over here for three years and left last year for Mississippi,” said Lance Cpl. Croom, a logistics embarkation clerk with MWHS-1, 1st MAW, III MEF. “Upon graduating my MOS school, I received orders right back here. It is bittersweet.”
For Lance Cpl. Croom, joining the Marine Corps was not quite the adjustment it may have been for some recruits.
“I joined the Marine Corps knowing what it was since I grew up in it,” said Lance Cpl. Croom. “It has been exactly what I thought it was, so there really have been no surprises.”
It is unusual for Marines to be able to work on a day-to-day basis with family members, according to Master Gunnery Sgt. Croom. For father and daughter, sharing the title “Marine” and its associated experiences are a special blessing.
“Last week, we had the opportunity to go to Iwo Jima together,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Croom. “We didn’t really see the big deal about it until we thought about the things we have been able to do together. I now not only get to be with my junior Marines, but also with my oldest daughter.”
In any work environment, and more so in the military, it is necessary that customs and courtesies are followed. This can be difficult when coworkers are accustomed to addressing each other with more familiarity.
“I always catch myself calling her nicknames,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Croom. “It’s when she looks at me that I know I have to correct myself and address her as lance corporal.”
Although his daughter may be following in her father’s footsteps, she is taking responsibility for her own success in the Marine Corps, according to Master Gunnery Sgt. Croom.
“This is her own journey,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Croom. “She is now making a name for herself.”