Senior Josh Bacon prepares for his future as a Marine


Senior Josh Bacon has always known he wanted to enlist in the military. With his family’s vast history of military involvement, he had grown up knowing it was what he was destined to do with his life. With his dad being in the Navy, and his uncle, grandpa, and great-grandpa all being in the Army, Josh is looking forward to starting the Marine legacy in his family.

Because he is already enlisted in the U.S. Marines, almost immediately after graduation this May Josh will be leaving Michigan to go to boot camp.

“After high school- I’m enlisted- so I leave six days after graduation to go to Lansing to get all my medical stuff figured out,” Josh said. “Then after, I go to the airport, fly to North Carolina, and start my journey that is a thirteen-week paid vacation at Parris Island for boot camp.”

Even though Josh is continuing the family military involvement trend, Josh will be the first person in his family to enlist in the Marines. His family tradition started back with his great-grandpa and grandpa joining when they were drafts for the wars, and his dad just felt like joining the military was something he also should do.

Some of Josh’s family members, such as his dad and his brother, are large influences on Josh’s life and his decisions.

“My dad is a big [influence],” Josh said. “He pushes me to do [to the best of my abilities], and it has to be right, or it’s not good enough. He’s always [wanting] me to be the best I can, and that’s a big influence for me. My brother, hard to admit because he is my older brother, is a big influence on me just because I don’t get any slack from him; he keeps me on my toes.”

Even though he is always around the military with his family members, he also managed to find a group of friends who also have some involvement with the military. By being friends with former FHC student Christian Donald, who is in the Navy, and FHC senior Josh Sweeney, who is enlisted in the Army, Josh is able to be surrounded by people with similar interests.

“It’s very competitive [having people in my friend group that are also going into the military],” Josh said. “With Christian, he’s doing the Navy, and everybody’s like, “The Marines are a department of the Navy.a�� I always answer with the corny joke like, “Yeah, we’re the men’s department of the Navy.a�� So there’s always that branch banter- kind of like brotherly love. You love each other, but you also hate each other. So it’s always a competition. And then there’s not that much with Josh [Sweeney] because he’s doing what he’s doing, I’m doing what I’m doing. We respect each other because of it.”

Some advice Josh wants to give to other students who are considering enlistment is to research the different branches of the military and do more research on the branch you think you want to choose. The attitude of the Marine recruiters that visited FHC was appealing to Josh. This drew him to begin attending the Marine workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and he knew that he was with the right people for him.

Despite thoughts about other future plans that have crossed his mind, Josh knows that being in the military is the right choice for him and can even benefit him in the future depending on what he wants to spend the rest of his life doing.

“It was always a family thing, it was always in the back of my mind,” Josh said. “My dad’s an EMT for the Kentwood Fire Department, so I said, ‘Oh, I could work for the fire department.’ Then I got drawn to criminal justice so it’s, ‘Oh, being a cop sounds cool.’ I can jumpstart both those careers with the military, and if I don’t want to jumpstart another career that’s a career in itself if you have what it takes so, yeah, let’s go for it.”

Josh is enthusiastic about his future, and he is thankful for the people that have gotten him where he is today. The support from his mom especially means a lot to him, even though she wasn’t completely convinced at first.

“There are so many people that affect my decision, so my mom’s probably the biggest one,” Josh said. “When I took my dad to sign my enlistment papers- because I wasn’t eighteen yet- and he’s all for [my enlistment]. He says, ‘Oh, this should be something that everybody has to do at least two years of, no matter the branch.’ Then I took my mom. She said, ‘Are you sure you want to do this? I sign this paper; there’s no going back.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m sure.’ My recruiter was looking at me, and he said, “Your mom is something special.’ She worries a lot, but there’s not much she can do. If she didn’t want to sign it now, I’d turn eighteen and do it myself. She supports me, but she’s scared to death about everything.”

Josh’s siblings both show immense support for his plans and what he is choosing to do with his life. Josh and his brother, who is enlisted in the Navy, now have a bit more than a typical sibling rivalry: military branch rivalry. Josh is also five years older than his sister and is saddened to have to leave her soon.

“I don’t know how it’s going to affect her, but I think it’s going to be difficult because it’s not like I’m just going away to school and can talk when she needs to talk,” Josh said. “It’s boot-camp, thirteen weeks. I can write letters, but the most you can probably write with your free time is two in a thirteen-week period. For her, it’s just one of those things. She thinks it’s awesome, and she goes around saying, ‘Oh, my brother’s doing this, this, and this,a�� but she doesn’t, I guess it hasn’t really set in like,’Oh, they’re going to be gone nine months out of the year or more doing God knows what, God knows where.’ She’s my biggest fan.”

Josh is confident in his decision to be a Marine and can’t wait to start the next journey in his life. With the support from his close friends and family members, he is ready to set off and be proud of his new title.

“I looked at the Air Force, and the Army, and the Navy, I looked at all of them and the Marines just felt right,” Josh said. “You know, you hear all these things with the other branches, with the Marines you have the title of Marine, and you’re not, “Oh, I’m this in the Army.a�� You’re, “I’m a Marine, once a Marine, always a Marine.”