OBSERVATION POST BEARS, Iraq -- Most Marines are called to the Corps by a recruiter, but one Marine here believes he was called by God.
Lance Cpl. Joshua T. Potts said he believed God would take his experiences as an infantryman and use them to prepare him for service as a Navy Chaplain in the future.
“I did it to gain more respect for ‘the infantry world,’” said Potts, a mortarman with I Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.
The 31-year-old infantryman from Boca Rotan, Fla., said becoming a “grunt” will help him better understand the struggles Marines go through on the forward edge of the spear.
Then he can take his experiences and apply them to his sermons when he becomes a chaplain.
Potts didn’t figure this overnight. He gave God credit for redirecting the course of his life and setting him on the path to serving others.
“I was working banking as a financial advisor,” Potts explained. “I had a job with a flexible work schedule and a house, but my religious calling was stronger.”
Potts’ fiery desire ignited when he saw flames and smoke billow from the twin towers on television during the 9/11 attacks.
He became drawn to seeing heroic images of Marines coming to America’s rescue, risking their lives for freedom.
“I would think about joining the Marines daily until that’s all I would think about,” Potts said. “Then God helped me make my decision.”
So after a year of hard thinking, he left the easy life behind and headed for the recruiter’s office.
“I went to the recruiter and told him that I wanted to join the Marines,” Potts said. “I want to serve with Marines in combat.”
The two talked about the infantry option. While speaking they established common ground.
“I found out we were the same age and we were both borne-again Christians,” Potts said.
Soon they became good friends.
“He thought it was great that I wanted to go enlisted,” Potts said. “He didn’t even try to convince me to join the Marines.”
That’s because he was already had his mind made.
“A few weeks later I found myself at Parris Island,” Potts said. “That’s when I was thinking, ‘What have I done?’”
He said he has no regrets though.
Potts is proud to sweat in the Iraqi heat alongside his fellow Marines.
He is now working towards his bachelor’s degree and has plans for a master’s degree.
A lot of people think he’s crazy for giving up his comfortable life, but Potts said he’s just answering the call to serve others.
“That’s what God called me to do,” he said.