From Wedding Shoes To Marine Corps Combat Boots
by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Warren Smith
January 19, 2021
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 Whitehead.)
Their 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.
“I 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 Brianna Whitehead.)
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.
David 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, 2021.
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