CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Cracking rifles against his hands and walking tall in ceremonies and parades along the eastern seaboard, Lance Cpl. Matthew Kirkman is right where he wants to be as the newest member as the 2nd Marine Logistics Group Color Guard – for now anyways.
Since he got his first taste of the military as a member of his high school Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program as a senior, Kirkman has always aspired to move to the next level possible. Couple this with the fact that one of his JROTC instructors was a former Marine major whom he deeply admired; it was only natural for him to pursue the title of “Marine.”
“It may sound silly, but I wanted to come as close to a superhero as I could,” he said. “Marines are top notch. In this capacity I can help others who cannot help themselves.”
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Kirkman reported to recruit training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., on Sept. 9, 2011 and graduated on Dec. 11. Now stationed aboard Camp Lejeune, he serves as a radio technician with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, in addition to his collateral duties as a rifle bearer – an opportunity he jumped at a little more than a month ago.
“I was asked if I was interested and I said ‘of course,’” said Kirkman. “I’ve always wanted to do something like this because I wanted to represent the Corps on that level,” he explained. “People look at you and what they see is exactly what they expect a Marine to be, that squared-away image.”
Kirkman also mentioned that while serving as a rifle bearer is an awesome opportunity in itself (one that recently took him to New York in support of Fleet Week 2011), he would love to eventually serve as a color sergeant.
Looking even further down the road, he looks forward to deploying, perhaps a tour on the drill field and then ultimately retiring from the Corps. All things, he noted, would be worth it if he could just leave with one thing.
“Knowing I may have helped change someone’s life at some point would be it for me,” he said.