Valdosta Daily Times

September 2, 2013

A Marine’s Marine

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — If you ask 10 different Marines why they enlisted, you’ll most likely get 10 different answers. Some are inspired by an older family member, someone who served before. Some follow friends. Some feel a sense of duty, of obligation, a calling.

And for some, it’s a personal challenge. That’s the category Lance Cpl. Anson Swindle falls into.

“I felt like I was too young to be sitting around doing nothing while there was a war going on,” said Swindle. “I was always looking for a challenge, doing marathons, Tough Mudder runs. I figured that the Marine Corps was the toughest branch in the world.”

Swindle, a Lowndes native who graduated from Lowndes High School in 2008, found a lot of his earlier challenges came in handy when he enlisted in the Marine Reserves in 2010.

He participated in numerous sports teams throughout high school, including wrestling, but it was his cross-country training that had prepared him the most.

“You’d kind of get made fun of in school for being in cross country, but running, that physical endurance, is very important in the Marines. ... I contribute a lot of my success to that, the mental and physical endurance I built up over the years.”

After graduating Parris Island, he went to the School of Infantry, eventually joining up with an anti-terrorism battalion based out of Tallahassee, Fla. There, he found himself conducting anti-terrorism operations throughout the Middle East. It was a job that kept him on the move, and one that limited his opportunities when he could keep in contact with his family: his parents, Roy and Amy; his younger sister, Savannah; and his daughter, Ansley.

“When I left, she wasn’t talking yet, she couldn’t even walk,” he said of his daughter. “Now, she’s running around like a crazy person and talking all the time.”

After two-and-a-half years, Swindle’s unit was closed due to restructuring and he was moved to his current unit, Combat Logistics Group 453.

“It’s a shame that it had to close; I’m extremely proud of it. But I love where I’m at with my new unit. Everyone in it is a good Marine, a professional. It’s a job matched for me. It’s a change of pace going from a hard-charging combat unit to logistics, but it’s good to see the other side.”

It’s a lot of responsibility, but for Swindle, that’s part of the draw.

“As I pick up more responsibility, I just have more reasons to stay in.”

That sense of responsibility has been awarded. Swindle was recently selected as Marine of the Quarter by Brig. Gen. Roger Machut. Swindle contended with thousands of other Marines for this honor. It serves to recognize a Marine who exemplifies Marines, someone with a deep work ethic, a strong sense of responsibility, someone devoted to duty.

In short, the Marine’s Marine.

Swindle isn’t against the idea of going full-time, but for now, the reserves is where he needs to be.

“In the Marine Reserves, we have to keep up with all the same qualifications. Everything is the same as active duty, you just aren’t on base.

“That way I can deploy and do all the other active-duty stuff, but still spend time with my family and work on my civilian life and go back to school. At least until I finish my bachelor’s degree.”

Swindle is focusing on business, looking to focus on business management information systems, or perhaps real-estate finance or accounting. It’s a lot to juggle, but Swindle credits his parents for pushing him.

“My parents are always pushing me to success. My dad started out with nothing, working his way through medical school. He had no opportunity and created it himself. I have all the opportunity in the world, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t take advantage of that and try to make something of myself.”

It’s a lot of work, a lot of responsibility: father, student, Marine.

But that’s just fine with Swindle. He’s always up for a challenge.