Face of Defense: Enlisted Marine Returns as Officer

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. — Marine Corps Capt. Joshua H. Wei­land grew up in a typ­i­cal Amer­i­can fam­i­ly in Park Falls, Wis. Not much more than a cou­ple of inter­sec­tions in the mid­dle of a nation­al for­est, the town gave Wei­land an envi­ron­ment that fit his per­son­al­i­ty.

EA-6B Prowler
Marine Corps Capt. Joshua W. Wei­land, cen­ter, stands in front of an EA-6B Prowler on Dec. 10, 2010, with Marines he served with dur­ing his enlist­ed ser­vice.
U.S. Marine Corps pho­to by Cpl. Samuel A. Nas­so
Click to enlarge

“My best friend from child­hood and I honed our hunt­ing and fort-build­ing skills in the woods,” he said. 

After high school, Wei­land con­tem­plat­ed what he’d do for a liv­ing. He even­tu­al­ly con­tact­ed a Marine Corps recruiter to vis­it him at his par­ents’ home. 

“What time is he going to be here?” asked his father, Norm, in ref­er­ence to the recruiter. 

Until then, Wei­land said, his fam­i­ly did­n’t have a clue that he was con­sid­er­ing join­ing the Marines. His father was more than proud of him for join­ing the mil­i­tary, he added, but he want­ed to ensure that he was doing it for the right reasons. 

“He told me to find a skill that would fol­low me for the rest of my life,” Wei­land said. 

Weiland’s father, Norm, enlist­ed in the Marine Corps in 1965, serv­ing as a KY‑8 radio tech­ni­cian and a heli­copter door gun­ner. Sta­tioned at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendle­ton, Calif., mul­ti­ple loca­tions in Viet­nam, and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Weiland’s father trav­eled and expe­ri­enced quite a bit in his four years of service. 

“He nev­er real­ly told me to join or expect­ed me to join. It’s always what I’ve want­ed to do,” Wei­land said. “I remem­ber when I was 9 or 10 see­ing my dad’s box of medals, and I was like a kid in a can­dy store. It was def­i­nite­ly a deter­min­ing factor.” 

Like his father, Wei­land joined the Marines. In 1996, he was assigned to his first duty sta­tion, Marine Tac­ti­cal Elec­tron­ic War­fare Squadron 4, as an EA-6B Prowler air­craft tech­ni­cian, at the age of 19. He deployed three times dur­ing his first enlist­ment, twice to Aviano Air Base, Italy, in sup­port of Oper­a­tion Delib­er­ate Guard and Oper­a­tion Allied Force and once to Japan. 

As a sergeant in the Marine Corps and with time dwin­dling away on his first term, Wei­land had anoth­er impor­tant deci­sion to make. He decid­ed to depart the Marine Corps and began college. 

“I did­n’t like what I was study­ing and real­ized the Corps was a bet­ter fit for me, but I knew if I came back in that I prob­a­bly would­n’t be a non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer, so I had to do some­thing dif­fer­ent,” he said. “So I did some research, talked to my dad quite a bit, and decid­ed on the pla­toon lead­ers course in 2003.” 

Com­mis­sioned as a sec­ond lieu­tenant in 2006 with a degree in phys­i­cal geog­ra­phy from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin, Wei­land head­ed to flight school. 

“I was sit­ting there going through the num­bers with a few of my bud­dies at flight school,” Wei­land said, “and I real­ized there was a decent chance for me to go to Marine Air­craft Group 14 again.” 

Wei­land found him­self assigned to Marine Tac­ti­cal Elec­tron­ic War­fare Squadron 4 again, this time as an officer. 

“I thought it was a joke at first, but it was­n’t, and it start­ed to sink in like I nev­er left in the first place,” he said. “I thought sar­cas­ti­cal­ly to myself, ‘Oh I’m back at this place again.’ ” 

His first time with the Sea­hawks was as a Prowler elec­tri­cian, and the sec­ond time as an elec­tron­ic coun­ter­mea­sures officer. 

“I spent four years of my life main­tain­ing the air­craft, when all I want­ed to do was see what it is like to fly in it,” he said. “Then I real­ized I had to go through flight school just for that.” 

Thir­teen years after he first stepped into the squadron’s hangar, he returned to see sev­er­al famil­iar, albeit old­er, faces -– Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Daen J. Glover, for exam­ple. “Cap­tain Wei­land was always some­one I looked up to and tried to emu­late when he was enlist­ed,” said Glover, who has known Wei­land for 12 years. 

“I was con­fused when he got out as a sergeant and went to col­lege, because he was an out­stand­ing Marine,” Glover con­tin­ued. “But I’m glad he decid­ed to come back, and now both our squadron and the Marine Corps are bet­ter off with a Marine of his caliber.” 

Wei­land said his life is pros­per­ous, as he is hap­pi­ly mar­ried to his wife, Neva, and he has three chil­dren: Bran­don, Aidon and Eliz­a­beth. He also has a unit full of old work bud­dies as he pur­sues a pro­fes­sion that allows him to fly and work with young Marines. 

“I def­i­nite­ly have a unique per­spec­tive of what it is to be an enlist­ed Marine,” Wei­land said. “It has ben­e­fit­ted me as an offi­cer, and real­ly all you need to do is think about it like a lance cor­po­ral does, and you’ll get the job done.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →