Growing up in Raleigh in the 1980’s I noticed how a few people had power and authority, and most people had none. I never understood why that was, but it did not set right with me. After all, our Nation was built on the credo that all men are created equal.
In 1992, after graduating high school, I enlisted in the Marine Corps and spent the next five years traveling all over the world as a Loadmaster on Marine KC-130s. I deployed twice to the East Coast of Africa, twice to the Middle East, and I traveled to Asia, Europe, and South America. In all, I traveled to 20 different countries and all over the United States. I met all kinds of people. Many of these people looked different than me, they spoke different languages than me, and some of them didn’t make enough money in a month to purchase the meal they were serving me in some far off country where I happened to be that evening. I looked around at the people I met, and the world they lived in, compared it to the world I lived in, and came to a big conclusion. These people, though maybe different on the outside, were no different than me, or you. They got up in the morning, wherever they might be, put on their pants and struggled to make it through the day. All they wanted was to live in peace and give their children a little better life than they had. They want security and stability in their lives and the knowledge their government or someone else is not going to come into their home and take their stuff or their lives. Unfortunately, like so many in America, most people around the world have no power or authority to stop anyone. They have no voice.
Unsettled by this, I decided I would work to put myself in a position to be the voice of the voiceless. I would be the power for the powerless. I would fight for those who could not fight for themselves.
After my enlistment, I returned home to North Carolina and enrolled in Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, then transferred to Campbell University where I studied Government. In 2001, after graduating from Campbell, I accepted a commission in the Marine Corps and returned to active duty. In the shadow of September 11th, and the runup to war, I figured the people who most needed someone to fight for them, were the American people. What I learned was that the Iraqi people needed someone to fight for them as well. In December 2004, I earned my Naval Aviator Wings and was assigned to fly the UH-1N Huey. While flying Huey’s, I deployed three times to Iraq where I provided close air support for ground patrols and convoys. It did not take long to figure out that while I was providing protection from above for the Marines and Soldiers on the ground in Iraq, I was also protecting the Iraqi people. When there were aircraft overhead, the bad guys kept their heads down and left everyone alone. To this day, I take great pride in the fact that no patrol or convoy was ever attacked while I was overhead in a helicopter. Though I may not have been a voice for those in peril, in a small way, I was able to give them peace. That is an important thing.
During my career, I served as the Commanding Officer of Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and civilians. I commanded a Company at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, and the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in Des Moines, Iowa. As a commander, my priority was to fight for my team and break down obstacles to their success. By empowering others, I found my own success and fulfillment.
I finished my Marine Corps Career as an Investigator for the Inspector General of the Marine Corps (IGMC), investigating fraud, waste, and abuse for Marines and civilians who had no voice. I began studying law at night in 2015 at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. while serving with the IGMC until I retired from the Marine Corps in 2017. In 2019, I graduated from law school and returned home to North Carolina to fulfill the lifelong promise to myself to be the voice for those who feel silenced and give the average American the power to preserve their God given rights.
It is an honor and privilege to be a part of the Strickland Agner Pittman team to help protect you from them, no matter who “them” is. No matter who you are, your rights are as important to me and my own. If they trample on you today, then they can trample on me tomorrow. I have no intention of letting that happen to either of us.