Jack Of All Trades At MCAS Cherry Point
by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Symira Bostic
January 27, 2022
Every time we walk outside, no matter where we are, we’re all surrounded by the same thing — nature. North Carolina is home to a wide array of national forests and wildlife, including the Croatan National Forest.
Its 160,000 acres of pine forests and saltwater estuaries surround Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point and provide recreation to nearby residents. Additionally, it boasts a wide array of wildlife, including black bears, turkeys, and alligators. As the largest air station in the Marine Corps, Cherry Point poses a handful of dangers to the surrounding environment.
In order to stay as environmentally friendly as possible, there is a need for passionate people like Glenn Catoe, a conservation law enforcement officer and game warden at the Environmental Affairs Department, to lead the efforts in keeping the ecosystems as healthy as possible for future generations.
Glenn Catoe, a conservation law enforcement officer and game warden, at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, Jan. 20, 2022. Catoe is dedicated to helping the installation stay environmentally friendly. (U.S. Marine Corps photo illustration by Lance Cpl. Symira Bostic)
Catoe was born and raised in South Carolina and grew up embracing the great outdoors: hunting, fishing, and camping. As the end of high school neared, the need to find a career was ever daunting because jobs in his hometown were scarce.
His grandfather, a retired Marine that served in Vietnam, encouraged him to join the Navy ‘seabees,’ otherwise known as the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion. His grandfather told him that if the Navy wasn’t what he wanted as a career, he should get into an occupational field that could translate into a career outside of the military. So, he enlisted in the Navy in 1999 as an equipment operator.
During his seven-year enlistment, Catoe went on five deployments, including two tours in Iraq supporting Marine units. At the end of his service, he decided he wanted to chase new opportunities. “I wanted to travel, serve my country, and I got to do that for free,” Catoe said. “After five deployments, I felt it was time to do something else.”
Catoe heeded his grandfather's advice and found work as an equipment operator for a construction company for three years. After, he spent five years as a United Parcel Service pre-loader and loader.
In 2012, Catoe found his way back to working for the government when he was hired at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services in Louisiana as a wildland firefighter. Catoe was able to delve into biology work, habitat management, planting marsh grass to rebuild and regrow the marsh in Louisiana. The organization then sent him to Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi.
From 2016-2020, Catoe spent his time on the 41,000 acre refuge as an equipment operator and wildland firefighter. For most of his time, he was working solo. There he did soil management, habitat management, planted crops, and took care of the wildlife. At the same time, he was also working for the local sheriff’s department as a patrol deputy and search and rescue diver. Him and one other deputy at a time covered more than 936 square miles, dealing with anything from domestic violence to other severe crimes.
“When you love your job, you will never work a day in your life,” Catoe said.
While working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Catoe also did two tours on hotshot crew in Redmond, Oregon, in 2015 and 2018. He fought fire all along the California line to the Canadian border. His job was to go in and create fire lines to slow down the fire in areas where a lot of other crews would not be sent.
“It was all an adrenaline rush,” Catoe said. “I haven’t been in a situation where I’ve been scared yet. I know the capabilities of my equipment and my ability to do my job.”
For 10 years Catoe worked in environmental conservation. However, he said he had always dreamed of working in a federal setting.
“My passion was to become federal law enforcement for the last 12 years or so,” Catoe said. “I applied for the job here on Cherry Point using my experience working in the natural resource division. I have a passion for the outdoors and habitat management and protecting natural resources.”
A jack of all trades, Catoe was more than qualified for the job. He began working with MCAS Cherry Point Environmental Affairs Department (EAD) as the conservation law enforcement officer and game warden in November 2019. In his role, he enforces federal conservation laws pertaining to outdoor recreation activities in order to preserve natural resources.
Glenn Catoe, a conservation law enforcement officer and game warden, shows deer teeth molds to Laura Hendricks at the Environmental Affairs Department at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, Jan. 20, 2022. Catoe is dedicated to keeping the installation, its satellite facilities, and the surrounding environment safe for future generations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Symira Bostic)
“You have to have a passion to really do this and make a difference,” Catoe said. “You can’t just do it because you wear a badge and gun every day. Anybody can do that. If you don’t have a passion you’re kind of wasting your time.”
Catoe says he loves his job at EAD and the staff he works alongside. “If you ain’t having fun it’s going to be a boring job,” Catoe said. “I work with a great group of people. I’ve been blessed in my career to have had that.”
Catoe said he is dedicated to ensuring Cherry Point, its satellite facilities, and the surrounding environment stay healthy for future generations. Serving as the conservation law enforcement officer and game warden for MCAS Cherry Point gives Catoe the opportunity to do just that.
“I protect natural resources so my daughter can grow up just like I grew up,” Catoe said. “[I do it] so that our men and women that are deployed can come home and enjoy it…They go out and fight for our freedoms, the least we could do is allow them the ability to enjoy nature with their families and make new memories.”
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