From Wedding Shoes To Marine Corps Combat Boots
by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Warren Smith
Making the commitment to go to Officer Candidates School and
ultimately commission in the U.S. Marine Corps is a rare feat.
Making that commitment, while married and as a couple ... is nearly unheard
of ... but David and Brianna Whitehead did just that.
David and Brianna
Whitehead in front of a barn at a Christmas market in
Marietta, Georgia on December 23, 2020. (Image created by
USA Patriotism! from photo provided by David and Brianna
story began in 2012 when David and Brianna decided to join Navy
Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps at Lassiter High School in
Marietta, Georgia. Initially they were just acquaintances, but by
their sophomore year, they started dating.
“It was quick,"
said David. "We started talking, then went on a drill trip in
Jacksonville, Florida, and then, by the next week, we started
dating. We started dating in October of 2013, and we’ve been
together ever since.”
David knew he wanted to be a Marine
ever since he was a little boy.
“I think it was on my 11th
birthday that I turned to my parents and told them, ‘I want to be a
Marine,’" said David. "Because of that, I actually joined JROTC when
I got to high school."
Meanwhile, while Brianna was in
NJROTC, she interacted with a retired Marine first sergeant, one of
her instructors. As she became more familiar with him, she became
more interested in the Marine Corps. She was never certain she
wanted to do it, but was curious about the possibility.
didn’t really know anything about the military except what you see
in movies," said Brianna. "Then, as I was looking through my options
for when I got to high school, I saw JROTC, and I thought, ‘That
looks really cool. I want to try that,.' After going to a one-week
mini boot camp at Parris Island, I had a lot of fun, and I really
enjoyed it. From there, I kind of made up my mind and felt like I
could do this.”
As the Whiteheads went through high school,
their interest in one another and the Marine Corps continued to
grow. When it came time for the two of them to graduate high school,
they decided to continue their relationship and to attend college at
Kennesaw State University.
Between their junior and senior years of
college, on August 1, 2019, David and Brianna married.
David and Brianna
Whitehead pose for a photo at their wedding on August 1, 2019. (Image
created by USA Patriotism! from photo provided by David and
Less than three months after their wedding, David spoke to Marine
Capt. Alicia Chambers, the Kennesaw Marine Corps Officer Selection
Officer, at a career fair on campus. After speaking with Chambers,
David’s desire to join the Marine Corps was reignited.
talked this monumental decision over with Brianna, and they came up
with a decision that few people would think is possible and less
people could ever dream of accomplishing: take on the challenge of
commissioning in the Marine Corps together.
“When you think
military, often times you don’t think that could ever be possible,"
said Brianna. "I looked at him and said, ‘If you’re gonna do this,
so am I. I wouldn’t be able to just sit at home, you know. I really
want to serve as well. I know that it’ll be stressful, but in the
end I think it will bring us closer together. We’ll have so much
more to bond over and talk about because we’ll be going through the
same thing and doing the same stuff.'”
Now, that they have
both graduated from Kennesaw State University with both earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing, the
Whiteheads were selected for Officer Candidate Course 236 and
checked in to Marine Corps Officer Candidates School on January 16,
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