Rhaashid Thompson says he is not following in his parents’ footsteps, no matter what it looks like.
The 17-year-old took his oath of enlistment July 1 at Recruiting Station Kansas City, Mo., sworn in by his mother, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Nicole Holt, personnel officer at 9th Marine Corps District Headquarters, and witnessed by his stepfather Sgt. Maj. Scott Holt, RS Kansas City's sergeant major.
“I applaud him for opening up himself for a challenge,” Nicole Holt said. “I’m very proud of him.”
Thompson’s original plans never included serving in the Corps. In fact, he had thought about joining the Air Force instead, something that could make two Marine parents nervous. However, they say they didn’t pressure him.
“We decided this was not something we were going to push, because I definitely know the Marine Corps isn’t for everybody,” Nicole Holt said.
Scott Holt laid out simple choices for Thompson after high school.
“I told him, ‘you either go to school, you work or you join the military,’” he said.
Thompson admitted that he wanted to join the Air Force because it looked easier. However, he discovered a new attitude after putting some further thought into his options.
“I thought if I’m going to do this, I’m not going halfway. I’m going to try hard,” Thompson said.
He decided that the Marine Corps was best for the benefits of travel and experience. More importantly, he liked the idea that he could live on his own terms.
“I don’t want to depend on someone my whole life,” Thompson said. “I want to be able to take care of myself.”
Thompson’s immediate goals are to give the Corps four years as a data technician and then go to college using the G.I. Bill. According to his mother, he felt he wasn’t quite ready for college yet.
“I’m getting paid to do this and [the Corps] will pay for college,” he said. “And unless I mess up big time, I’ll always have a home, a job and someplace to eat.”
Despite having parents who have devoted many years to the Marine Corps, Thompson says he made the choice to enlist on his own terms. He craves independence, travel and adventure, and the peace-of-mind that comes with military routine.