PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. --
PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. - Many would argue that one of the most powerful leadership tools is one’s ability to lead by their own personal example. For some individuals, leadership is a skillset that has to be taught, learned and practiced in order to become an efficient and effective leader. However, others would say that leaders are naturally born.
Cpl. Immanuel Benton, a Marine recruited out of Atlanta from Recruiting Sub Station Roswell, is an individual who strives to set a positive example every day.
After Benton graduated from high school, he was determined to work towards a better life and be a positive light for his younger siblings.
"I wanted to do more, but I also wanted to be close to my family," said Benton. "My grandma was sick; my mom was a single mother of six; and my older brother and sister were always in and out of trouble."
Benton wrestled throughout his high school career, which led him to earn a scholarship at Life University in Marietta, Georgia.
"I still wanted to join the military and had almost joined the Army because that’s the branch my family had served in," said Benton. "However, I wanted to stand out, and I was inspired by the commitment of the Marine recruiter. He was in constant contact with me until the day I left for boot camp. He was committed to me, and that stuck with me because it’s the same thing for wrestling."
After weighing his options, Benton decided to join the Marine Corps Reserve because it allowed him to stay close to family and utilize the scholarship that he had earned.
“I wanted to stay near home because I wanted to help with my family and be a positive example for my younger siblings," said Benton. "I wanted to show them that even though we lived hard, it doesn't have to be hard. They can do great things if they put their mind to it."
Benton kept a busy schedule during college. He did weight training in the morning, went to school during the day, had practice in the evening, worked when he could, and then would attend drill on select weekends with his reserve unit, Bravo Company, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, in Smyrna, Georgia.
“Serving in the reserves has taught me to be responsible and have good time management," said Benton. "It was difficult at times, but if you aren't constantly trying to push yourself and progress, then naturally you end up regressing, and I didn't want that."
Benton was in his final year of college when the COVID-19 pandemic began to escalate. This was also the same time that Benton's reserve contract was ending.
"People were losing their jobs," said Benton. "I even lost two jobs myself during this time. I was heading towards my graduation date and worried about job security at the same time."
Due to the economic state and his love for the Marine Corps, Benton decided to put in a package for the active reserves. With the package being approved, Benton now works at 6th Marine Corps District, Parris Island, South Carolina as the operations clerk and supply chief.
"I am still going to school," said Benton. "I am just finishing off my last year by utilizing tuition assistance. In the end, I feel like I made the right choice."
Benton aspires to make a career within the Marine Corps. Upon finishing his degree, he is considering submitting a package for the Enlisted Commissioning Program, a program designed to provide outstanding enlisted Marines the opportunity to serve as Marine Corps officers.
“Cpl. Benton has a bright career in front of him,” said Maj. William Patrone, the officer in charge for Prior Service Recruiting Station 6MCD. “He is mature, motivated, professional, and driven. All these skills will serve him well as he grows in the Marine Corps.”
While serving at 6MCD, Benton continues to try and "do more." Just this year, Benton has accepted an offer to be the head wrestling coach at Thomas Hayward Academy in Ridgeland, South Carolina.
"They offered me the position, but I just want to do it as a volunteer," said Benton. "I love the sport of wrestling. I just want to see kids grow and be the best they can be."
“Cpl. Benton’s quick and professional support for the recruiters has been noticed by every Marine in PSRS6,” said Patrone. “Now that he will be mentoring and coaching young men and women as a wrestling coach, he’ll be able to pass his positive influence on.”