PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. --
Improvise, adapt and overcome-- a saying that many Marines live by. Serving in the Marine Corps is a difficult but rewarding journey, one that is experienced by both the Marines and their family members. Capt. Darryl Gravelle, recruiting station Charlotte’s operations officer, and his family have grown accustomed to the military lifestyle, for he and his family have a long history of military service. Service that sees no end in the near future.
“I was born to serve in the military, and I knew it from a young age,” said Gravelle. "Through my uncle, I was exposed to the Marine Corps. I saw the heart and brotherhood of the Marines, and I knew I wanted to carry on that legacy. I was ready to go in hard and heavy.”
Gravelle now has 25 years of service under his belt, 16 years enlisted and nine as an officer. He first enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1996 as a rifleman, and later served as an infantry unit leader. As a Gunnery Sgt., he was selected for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program. While attending Jacksonville University, he was promoted to Master Sgt., and upon his graduation in 2012, he pinned on the rank of 2nd Lt. Gravelle now serves as the operations officer for Recruiting Station Charlotte.
"Due to my current billet, I visit Parris Island periodically for work,” said Gravelle. “Before then, I had only traveled to the depot to attend the graduation ceremonies of family members.”
Gravelle is one of six family members to serve in the United States Marine Corps and one of four that are still active duty. His uncle was the first Marine in the family, then followed Gravelle and three of his cousins, and now his son.
"I never put pressure on either of my children when it came to their future. I wanted them to figure it out themselves,” said Gravelle. "However, by the time my son was six-years-old, I had a feeling that he was going to become a Marine. When he was young he would play war and dress-up as a Marine for Halloween.”
Gravelle and his wife, Lindsay, have two children. A high-school-aged daughter and their son, Lucas, who just graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island on August 17, 2021.
"Watching my son graduate was a surreal feeling,” said Gravelle. “I had an overwhelming sense of pride because for me it meant that I did a good job in raising him. It reassured me that I instilled in him the values to want to selflessly serve this great country that we live in.”
Following graduation, Lucas will attend Marine Combat Training and the School of Intelligence.
"The moment I saw my dad come back from Iraq for the first time is when I knew I wanted to become a United States Marine,” said Lucas. “It was dark outside, and I was super excited for him to come off the bus. Even though I was very little at the time, I tried to carry his sea-bag. Since then, I began to educate myself about the Marine Corps and decided I wanted to become a signals analyst."
However, Intelligence school is only the first objective that Lucas hopes to accomplish.
"Once I get to my first duty station, I want to use my tuition assistance to start working towards my bachelor’s in homeland security," said Lucas. "Eventually I hope to earn my degree and commission.”
While Lucas wants to follow his dad’s footsteps in becoming a Marine Corps officer, he has one objective he hopes to complete first.
“After my first contract, I would like to become a recruiter,” said Lucas. “I want to first give back to the Marine Corps and help to bring in the next generation of Marines."