(Story by Ashley Craig, Navy Office of Community Outreach)
Marines are some of the most highly-trained people on the planet, according to military officials, and this training requires highly-dedicated instructors.
At Marine Aviation Training Support Squadron 1 (MATSS-1), located at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi, instructors teach Marines to be combat-ready warfighters, while providing the tools and opportunities for continuous learning and development.
Pfc. Christopher Dotson, a native of Brenham, Texas, is a student at MATSS-1, learning the necessary skills needed to be an aviation supply specialist.
“With aviation supply, if I was attached to an air wing, I would be in charge of getting the supplies they need,” said Dotson. “If they needed an engine, or parts for an engine or anything else like that, I would be responsible for getting those items to them.”
Dotson, a 2023 graduate of Brenham High School, joined the Marine Corps one year ago.
“I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to change myself and to add another branch of service to my family’s military legacy,” said Dotson. “Most of my family who have served are Navy, Air Force or National Guard. I’m a first-generation Marine. My family was ecstatic I was joining and happy for me to be the first.”
Dotson relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Brenham to succeed in the military.
“The main lesson I brought with me was to have good manners and be respectful,” said Dotson. “Those lessons help me by reminding me to remember people’s ranks and to keep my bearing when I’m talking to someone of higher rank.”
MATSS-1 Meridian is committed to developing dedicated and motivated Marines. Following boot camp, they provide entry-level “A” school training to students in administration and supply occupational specialties.
With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.
Serving in the Marine Corps means Dotson is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Marine Corps is important to maintaining national security because we are our nation’s quick reaction force,” said Dotson.
Dotson has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.
“My proudest accomplishment is earning my eagle, globe and anchor (EGA) atop the ‘Reaper,’” said Dotson. “The Reaper is the mountain at the end of the last hike we do during boot camp at Camp Pendleton. Getting to the top of the Reaper and getting my EGA meant I’d earned the title of Marine and had added to my family’s military tradition.”
As Dotson and other Marines continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Marine Corps.
“Serving in the Marine Corps means I am serving my country and fighting for something besides myself,” said Dotson. “I’d rather fight for something I actually believe in and help other people. I’d rather do something with my life for others instead of only doing it for myself.”
Dotson is grateful to others for helping make a career possible in the Marine Corps.
“I want to thank my mom, Rachel Dotson, because she was one of the people I talked to about it before I enlisted,” said Dotson. “She contacted all of my family members in the military to talk to me about it and she kept me going through boot camp. Her letters really helped.”
Dotson is also appreciative of the Marines who helped along the way.
“I would like to thank my recruiter, Gunnery Sgt. Cordoba, because he was the main reason I decided to join the service,” added Dotson. “He talked to me when I was in JROTC. He remembered my family’s military tradition and asked if I wanted to be the first. I told him I wasn’t sure, but then he said I could talk smack to them and I was in. I also want to thank Senior Drill Instructor Sgt. Jones because he taught me a lot during boot camp, mainly about being a man and how to grow into the expectations the Marine Corps has.”